Mustafa Amine Badreddine
Mustafa Amine Badreddine was born on 9 April 1961, in al-Ghobeiry, Beirut, Lebanon. He studied political science at the Lebanese American University from 2002 to 2004.
Badreddine allegedly joined Hezbollah in 1982. He was said to be a member of the Hezbollah Shura Council and reportedly became Hezbollah’s military commander in 2008 after his brother in law, Imad Mughniyeh, died in an explosion in Syria. He was reportedly responsible for Hezbollah’s military operations in Syria since 2011.
In 2005, Badreddine, together with Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra allegedly participated in a conspiracy to assassinate Rafik Hariri, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon and Member of Parliament at that time. Hariri was killed on 14 February 2005, in a suicide bomb attack in Beirut, which killed 21 other persons and injured 226 persons.
According to the indictment Baddredine was the overall controller of the operation, i.e. he monitored the physical perpetration of the attack, monitored and coordinated the surveillance of Hariri in preparation for the attack and the purchase of the van used during the attack.
Shortly after the explosion, a man named Ahmad Abu Adass allegedly falsely claimed to be the suicide bomber. Badreddine was accused of having been implicated in the preparation of this false claim of responsibility.
On 28 June 2011 the Pre-Trial Judge of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) confirmed the indictment submitted by the Prosecutor on 17 January 2011.
On 30 June 2011, the indictment against Badreddine, Ayyash, Oneissy and Sabra was sent to the Lebanese authorities. On 8 July 2011 international arrest warrants were issued against the four accused. Badreddine was however never arrested.
The indictment was unsealed on 17 August 2011.
Badreddine was charged with:
– Conspiracy aimed at committing a terrorist act;
– Committing a terrorist act by means of an explosive device;
– Intentional homicide of Hariri with premeditation by using explosive materials;
– Intentional homicide (of 21 persons in addition to the intentional homicide of Hariri) with premeditation by using explosive materials, and attempted intentional homicide (of 231 persons in addition to the intentional homicide of Hariri) with premeditation by using explosive materials.
On 1 February 2012, the STL Trial Chamber decided to conduct the proceedings in the case against Badreddine and the others in absentia.
On 27 July 2012 the Trial Chamber delivered its decision on the jurisdiction of the STL, reaffirming the full legality of the Tribunal and its jurisdiction over the 14 February and other connected attacks. The decision was made public on 30 July 2012.
On 9 August 2013, new international arrest warrants were issued against the four accused.
The trial against Badreddine and the three other accused started on 16 January 2014.
Badreddine was reportedly killed on 11 May 2016 in an attack in Damascus, Syria.
However, on 1 June 2016, the Trial Chamber of the STL decided that the trial could continue pending the receipt of further information from the government of Lebanon regarding the death of Badreddine. The Trial Judges did not believe that sufficient evidence had been presented to convince them that his death had been proven to the requisite standard.
On 11 July, the Appeals Chamber of the STL reversed this decision to continue and ordered the Trial Chamber to terminate the proceedings against Badreddine, arguing that there was sufficient evidence presented to prove his death.
SUMMARY OF THE FACTS
On 14 February 2005 a terrorist attack in Beirut killed Rafik Hariri, former Prime Minister of Lebanon, and other 21 persons. Just a couple of months later Lebanon should have celebrated new elections, in which Hariri would have been one of the main candidates.
Hariri was one of the politicians who played a primary role in Lebanon reconstruction after the bloody civil war that took place between 1975 and 1990. Unlike some of his political adversaries, Hariri strongly opposed Syrian influence in Lebanon’s internal affairs.
After intense demonstrations demanding an independent enquiry over Hariri’s murder, on 7 April 2005 the United Nations established an international commission (UNIIIC) to investigate over the 14 February attack and other terrorist acts that occurred in the same period.
In 2006 the Government of Lebanon negotiated the creation of an international tribunal with the United Nations. The agreement establishing the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was signed by both the UN and the Government of Lebanon. However the President of the Lebanese Parliament refused to convene the assembly in order to proceed with the ratification of the Agreement. On 30 March 2007 the UN Security Council solved the ‘impasse’: the Agreement and the Statute of the Special Tribunal entered into force by means of Resolution 1757.
THE SPECIAL TRIBUNAL FOR LEBANON (STL)
The STL is a criminal court sitting in Leidschendam (near The Hague), in the Netherlands. Its staff, including the judges, is made up of both Lebanese and international lawyers. For its unique features the STL is usually considered as one of the so-called ‘hybrid tribunals’ or ‘internationalized courts’. The Tribunals commenced its activities on 1 March 2009.
The STL has jurisdiction over the terrorist attack that killed Rafik Hariri, and over all the other attacks – occurred in Lebanon between 1 October 2004 and 12 December 2005 – which are found by the Tribunal itself to be connected with the 14 February one.
The Tribunal is bound to apply substantive Lebanese criminal law which, among the other crimes, provides a definition of terrorism. The proceedings in Leidschandam however follow the Rules of Procedure and Evidence written by the judges themselves, constituting a peculiar mixture of inquisitorial and adversarial elements.
The STL, currently, is the only international criminal tribunal allowing the celebration of ‘in absentia’ trials, i.e. criminal proceedings in which the accused is not present.