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The primary mandate of the Tribunal is to hold trials for the people accused of carrying out the attack of 14 February 2005 in Beirut which killed 22 people, including the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, and injured many others. The Tribunal also has jurisdiction over other attacks occurred in Lebanon between October 2004 and December 2005 if they are connected and similar in nature and gravity. 

History and establishment

Following the February 2005 attack, the UN Secretary-General sent a fact-finding mission to Beirut in March. The group recommended the   establishment    of an independent inter- national investigation into the attack; subsequently, the UN Security Council established the UNIIIC in April 2005. Following a series of other killings and bombings in Lebanon, the government requested the UN to establish a tribunal of international character. In 2007, the UN and the Lebanese government signed an agreement on the establishment of the STL, which was not ratified by the Lebanese parliament. Following this impasse, the UN brought the provisions of the agreement into force through a Security Council Resolution. The STL opened on 1 March 2009 in the Netherlands.

A terrorism trial

The STL is the first tribunal of its kind to deal with terrorism as a distinct crime and to define terrorism as an international crime for the first time. 

Trials in absentia

The STL allows trials in absentia under strict conditions and as a measure of last resort. 

The participation of victims

72 victims who had suffered harm as a direct result of the attacks currently participate in the proceedings to present their views and concerns. 


Fifty-one per cent of the STL’s budget is financed through voluntary contributions from States, while forty- nine per cent is paid by Lebanon.