| 19.04,19. 12:37 AM |
STL Judges amend the Rules of Procedure and Evidence
Leidschendam, 18 April 2019 – The Judges of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) approved six proposed rule amendments to the STL’s Rules of Procedure and Evidence (RPE) at a plenary meeting held last week.
The RPE are regularly updated to improve and streamline the STL's procedures. The following is a summary of the most significant changes adopted.
The Judges adopted an amendment to Rule 188 (C) concerning the Judgement on Appeal, adding another safeguard in relation to convicted person’s appellate rights. The Rule now states that where only the convicted person has filed an appeal, the Appeals Chamber may not increase the sentence.
Changes were also made to Rules 168 (B), 171 (E) and 188 (B) – which concern Judgement, Sentencing Procedure and Judgement on Appeal, respectively – to align them with the provisions of Article 23 and the STL Statute, by clarifying that Trial, Sentencing and Appeals Judgments shall be “rendered by a majority of the Judges and accompanied by a reasoned opinion, in writing, to which any separate or dissenting opinion shall be appended”.
Finally, Rules 50 (B) (iii) and 50 (D) relating to the Victims and Witnesses Unit (VWU) were amended to better reflect the practice of the VWU and the duty of care towards witnesses and victims participating in the proceedings.
In accordance with Rule 5 (H) of the RPE, amendments enter into force seven days after their issuance on 18 April 2019.
The updated RPE are now available on STL website. A summary of the adopted and rejected amendments will follow shortly.
How the Rules of Procedure and Evidence are amended
The Rules of Procedure and Evidence (RPE) govern the various stages of the proceedings before the STL. The rules reflect the highest standards of international criminal justice.
The RPE were adopted on 20 March 2009 and have since been revised on ten occasions. They protect the rights of a suspect, an accused or of a convicted or acquitted person. Amendments to the RPE are intended to enhance the efficiency, effectiveness and integrity of the STL's proceedings.
Rule 5 of the RPE defines the process for the amendment of the rules.
The STL Judges, the Prosecutor, the Head of the Defence Office and the Registrar may propose amendments to the RPE. Such proposals are then reviewed by the Rules Committee, presided by the Vice-President, and composed also of two other Judges designated by the President, as well as the Prosecutor, the Head of Defence Office and the Registrar or their representatives as non-voting representatives.
In order for amendments to be adopted, they require unanimous approval of the Judges or the vote of at least seven Judges at a plenary meeting of the Tribunal. Amendments come into force one week after their adoption. There is no limit to the number of times the RPE may be amended.