STL contempt fines remain unpaid

The enforcement of the first ever sentence imposed on a legal person by an international criminal tribunal is running into difficulties.

The deadline for Akhbar Beiruit S.A.L. to pay its €6,000 contempt fine to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was 30 September 2016.

Documents just published on the STL’s website confirm that the fine remains unpaid. As does the (larger) fine of €20,000 imposed on Mr Ibrahim Mohamed Ali Al Amin in the same case.

On 11 October 2016, Judge Lettieri issued an “Order on Payment of Fine Pursuant to Rule 135”. A corrected version was then filed on 12 October 2016 to amend the reference to the Lebanese Code of Criminal Procedure that allows for “exceptional service methods”. Judge Lettieri’s order summarises that the STL’s Registry made “numerous attempts” to serve a copy of the sentence on the defendants – to no avail. Service was eventually effected by way of “exceptional service methods” under the Lebanese Code of Criminal Procedure, namely:

after unsuccessfully attempting personal service on Mr Al Amin and the corporate representatives of Akhbar Beiruit S.A.L., Lebanese authorities posted both versions of the Sentencing Judgment on the wall of Mr Al Amin’s last address, and on the glass of the information desk of the building in which Akhbar Beirut S.A.L. is headquartered.

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“Exceptional Service” (Credit here: under Creative Commons)

So what next?

Judge Lettieri’s order summarises a number of measures that he considers are available to him, including the possibility that he could increase the fines. As a “first step”, however, he ordered both “Accused” to file written submissions to explain why they have not paid up. They have 14 days to do so …. following service of this most recent order.

Judge Lettieri has also invited the Parties and the Registry to file submissions on the consequences of the failures to pay. Their deadline is 28 October 2016.

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