Amicus Brief: The Special Tribunal for Lebanon before The Contempt Judge

Considering the importance of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon for the country and the region, it is clear that all aspects of its operation – including the protection of confidential witnesses – are topics of legitimate public interest for the Lebanese public and the world at large. Therefore, in accordance with the international standards on freedom of expression, not only does the press have the right to seek and disseminate information: the public also has a right to be informed on such matters. Furthermore, when reporting on courts' proceedings, the press contributes to publicizing the operation of the judiciary, thereby reinforcing the trust of the public in judicial institutions. The corollary of this is that unnecessary or disproportionate restrictions on public scrutiny of criminal proceedings are likely to diminish public confidence in the outcome of those proceedings.

In this submission, rules on contempt of court must not impose blanket restrictions on the ability of the press to report on an important dimension of the work of the judiciary, namely the protection of confidential witnesses before the courts.