Hariri trial could start in Sept or Oct 2011

AP and Reuters, Thursday 9 Dec 2010

STL proceedings, trying those convicted of Hariri's assassination, could begin in Setpember or October 2011, says the new head of the UN backed tribunal

The new head of the UN backed tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Al-Hariri says he expects the court's prosecutor to file his first indictment "very, very soon."

Herman von Hebel has not given more details about the timing or content of the indictment, which will remain confidential until it is confirmed by a judge at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, likely early next year.

Von Hebel spoke to a small group of reporters at the court's headquarters, in the Netherlands on Thursday, the day after the United Nations appointed him registrar for three years. He says a trial could be staged around four to six months after an indictment is confirmed, a process which could take six to 10 weeks.

He added that the trial of those accused could start in September or October 2011, and if arrests cannot be made, the trial will still proceed in absentia.

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