The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) was created by Security Council Resolution 1757 in 2007 in response to the assassination of the former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and a string of other assassinations that happened in Lebanon between October 1st 2004 and December 12th 2005. Lebanon has a long history of assassinations and violent conflict followed by impunity. While the creators of the STL drew upon the experience from other international tribunal that had emerged the last two decades, it is difficult to locate the STL in theparadigm of transitional justice because the narrowness of its mandate.
This Master’s Thesis investigates local perceptions about the STL and identifies some of the main legitimacy challenges facing the tribunal, as the trial proceedings are about to start. This is done through qualitative interviews with young Lebanese as well as Lebanese public figures in Beirut in February 2012. Main challenges found are perceptions of selective justice and fears of politicization, a general mistrust in domestic and international institutions, perceived irrelevance of the tribunal’s work and frustration over the double standards held by the international community, exemplified with the lack of action by the UN towards Israel in the war in 2006. The legitimacy challenges make it difficult to see the creation of the STL as a sincere, international demand for accountability.