Appeals Panel orders reinstatement of charges against Al Akhbar Beirut S.A.L.

JANUARY 23, 2015 (REFERRING TO THE NATIONAL NEWS AGENCY – LEBANON)The Appeals Panel in the case against Ibrahim Mohamed Ali Al Amin and Al Akhbar Beirut S.A.L. (Case STL-14-06) has unanimously decided that the Tribunal does have jurisdiction to hear cases of obstruction of justice against legal persons.

Following an appeal by the Amicus Curiae Prosecutor, the Appeals Panel – composed of Judge Afif Chamseddine (presiding), Judge Janet Nosworthy and Judge Ivana Hrdlièkov? – reversed the Contempt Judge’s previous decision on jurisdiction where he held that Rule 60 bis of the Tribunal’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence – that governs contempt and obstruction of justice offences – only applies to natural persons.

The Appeals Panel found that the Contempt Judge erred in his ruling that there is no ambiguity in the term “person” under Rule 60 bis, and that his consideration of the nullum crimen sine lege (“no crime without law”) principle was mistaken as the Appeals Panel’s decision in the case against New TV S.A.L. and Al Khayat did not create a new offence. The Panel emphasised that the same reasoning of the New TV S.A.L. Jurisdiction Appeal Decision (2 October 2014) applies since the legal issue is the same in both cases.

As a result, the Appeals Panel ordered that the charges against Al Akhbar Beirut S.A.L. be reinstated.

Judge Chamseddine issued a separate opinion and Judge Nosworthy issued a separate and partially dissenting opinion. These opinions can be found in the Appeals Panel’s decision.

A full written version of the decision in English, with headnotes in Arabic, English and French may be found here. Full Arabic and French translations of the decision will be available on the Tribunal’s website in due course.

SOURCE: National News Agency- Lebanon