Al-Akhbar editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Amin appeared briefly before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) by video-link Thursday where he told the court he does not recognize its legitimacy and excused himself, the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar reported.
“I reiterate today that I do not acknowledge the legitimacy of this tribunal. It was created by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), which has never guaranteed the security of any country, secretly and in violation of Lebanese sovereignty,” Amin told the Hague-based court, ostensibly set up to investigate the 2005 assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri.
“The UNSC has never set up an international tribunal to prosecute Zionist war criminals,” Amin said during a preliminary hearing into charges related to Al-Akhbar’s publication of a secret witness list.
“The security council established this tribunal as a political tool. I would like to remind you that shortly after the establishment of this tribunal Israel committed a massacre resulting in the deaths of 1,300 Lebanese in July 2006,” and no investigation was launched into that assault, he added.
After Amin finished his statement, the contempt judge Nicola Lettieri said he will interpret his remarks as a not guilty plea, to which Amin responded: “I do not recognize the existence of this tribunal so I cannot allow it entitlement to charge me.”
“I would like to inform you that I will remain silent during all the proceedings and refuse to appoint any lawyer to represent me or Al-Akhbar, and I refuse that you appoint a lawyer to defend me or the company.
Amin then asked the judge if he was free to leave. Judge Lettiery affirmed that Amin was free to do as he pleased, after which he removed his headset and left his computer.
“We can at least say goodbye,” the slightly startled judge said after Amin had already disappeared from the screen. Lettieri then adjourned the session.