Hariri tribunal amends rules on trials in absentia

November 19, 2010 21:13

LEIDSCHENDAM, Netherlands  — Judges at the UN-backed tribunal set up to prosecute the assassins of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri have changed the court's rules to clarify when a trial in absentia can be staged if suspects refuse to surrender.

The court has not yet issued any indictments in the case, but the changes appear to foreshadow concerns that once prosecutors do name suspects they may not be able to have them arrested.Under changes to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon's rules announced Friday, a trial in absentia could be ordered around 60 days after an indictment is issued.

The court already had provisions for trying suspects in their absence, but had not set time limits for when it could happen.

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