This blog of the Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) aims at granting the public opinion access to all information related to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon : daily press review in english, french and arabic ; UN documents, etc...

Ce blog du
Centre Libanais des droits humains (CLDH) a pour objectif de rendre accessible à l'opinion publique toute l'information relative au Tribunal Spécial pour le Liban : revue de presse quotidienne en anglais, francais et arabe ; documents onusiens ; rapports, etc...


Daily Star - Upholding the rule of law with the Hariri court, July 29, 2008

First person by MUHAMAD MUGRABY
Editor's note: The following is the second half of an article on the Lebanese legal system and the drive to try suspects in the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The article was first published by the Center for Democracy and the Rule of Law in Beirut and is republished with permission. The first part of the article appeared in Monday's issue of The Daily Star.

The Rise and Assassination of Rafik Hariri
Rafik Hariri was a tycoon who made his fortune in Saudi Arabia where he also lived most of his adult life. His main business vehicle was Saudi Oger, which he acquired from French owners. He had arrived in Saudi Arabia from his native Lebanon in the early 1970s penniless and with little education. His meteoric rise in wealth and power within a span of less than a decade is baffling and is reminiscent of the rise of the British media magnate Robert Maxwell. Rumors placed him as one of the principal front-men of Saudi royalty. Early in his career he came to Lebanon wearing Saudi headgear and bearing the title of the "Saudi mediator."
In 1983 he brought heavy equipment from Saudi Arabia and commenced the demolition of partially damaged, but mostly repairable, buildings in Beirut, or "the City," with the consent and support of President Amin Gemayel. In the early 1990s many of the buildings that could not be levelled by Oger bulldozers were demolished by Hariri-controlled crews using explosives. Officially, the demolition of the City was blamed on wartime militiamen, but many Lebanese believe that all this was part of the preparation for the takeover of the City by Solidere.
In 1989 Hariri played a central, though discreet, role in finalizing the Taif Accords. Enemies of Hariri and supporters of General Michel Aoun claim that Saudi money was poured generously into the pockets of the Lebanese MPs present at Taif to facilitate the results. On October 13, 1990, Lebanon fell under total Syrian hegemony. Hariri promptly returned to Lebanon and waited patiently as two successive cabinets expired before he was installed, under Syrian sponsorship, as prime minister in 1992. Great hopes were pinned on his ability to lead the country into an era of peace and prosperity.
Despite having absolutely no political experience from his time in Saudi Arabia, Hariri became the Syrian choice, partly due to his Saudi credentials and wealth. Furthermore, Hariri had succeeded in weaving bonds of close friendships and association with powerful Syrian figures such as Vice President Abdel Halim Khaddam, Army Chief of Staff Hikmat Shehabi and Syria's resident viceroy in Lebanon, General Ghazi Kenaan. Finally, he had become a supporter and confident of Jacques Chirac, who was soon to serve as president of France (1995-2007).
Khaddam, Shehabi and Kenaan enjoyed the confidence of President Hafez Assad and, between them, exercised control over Lebanon. They gave Hariri such firm support that he eclipsed the Syrian-chosen president whose office had already been stripped of most of its constitutional powers under the Taif-mandated constitutional amendments. Hariri, Chirac, Khaddam, Shehabi and Kenaan acted as senior partners in a consortium of sorts combining powerful political and economic interests.
Hariri's consortium appears to have survived him. The Lebanese government under Hariri ran huge budget deficits, borrowed heavily, and issued Lebanese treasury bonds to support borrowings, repayment and accumulated interest. As a result, the nation's public debt is currently estimated to have exceeded $50 billion with no plan in sight to amortize the debt.
When General Emile Lahoud was elected president in 1998, under the usual Syrian sponsorship, he wanted Syrian General Kenaan transferred away from Lebanon, but his wish was not granted by Syrian President Assad. In June 2000 Assad passed away and in the following month his son Bashar was installed in his place. In the early days of his presidency, Bashar Assad was influenced on Lebanese affairs by the more experienced Hariri associates Khaddam and Kenaan. Khaddam, helped by Kenaan, was instrumental in choosing Lebanese cabinet members and members of parliament.
Kenaan is widely credited with authoring Lebanon's general elections law of January 6, 2000, which was designed to further the political fortunes of Hariri and his close allies. Hariri won the elections of October 2000, and on October 26, 2000, was, on Bashar Assad's orders, appointed prime minister. Part of the price of Hariri's appointment was Bashar's eventual accession to Lahoud's request to transfer Kenaan out of Lebanon. Assad eventually transferred Kenaan to another assignment in Syria.
Kenaan did not leave until a lavish ceremony, hosted by Hariri, was held at the prime minister's office at the Grand Serail on October 9, 2003. The president of the Beirut municipality, a Hariri loyalist, gave a farewell speech and presented the outgoing Syrian general with the key to Beirut, which was followed by an acceptance and thank-you speech by Kenaan and, finally, by a speech by Hariri who lavished praise on Kenaan for his "accomplishments" in Lebanon.
President Bashar Assad had resolved, as one of the early goals of his presidency, to retire the old guard who had served his father. First General Shehabi was retired as the army's chief of staff, and he soon travelled to the United States via Beirut to settle there. Then Khaddam lost his powers bit by bit until his eventual retirement became inevitable. Kenaan had become the minister of interior of Syria, a position which yielded no military power.
Suddenly Hariri realized that he was losing valued Syrian pillars of his consortium, and with them his assured Syrian support. Nevertheless, Hariri supported the constitutional amendment to extend Lahoud's term. He attended parliament on September 4, 2004, and voted for the amendment. Upon the beginning of Lahoud's extended term, Hariri submitted his resignation in accordance with the constitution.
Several months after the assassination of Hariri, General Ghazi Kenaan reportedly committed suicide in his office at the Interior Ministry, Damascus. Soon thereafter Abdel Halim Khaddam was stripped of his office as vice president, defected to France and is currently being prosecuted in Syria for high treason. It is not impossible that some form of a conspiracy, never disclosed to the public, involved Khaddam, Kenaan and others with the aim of overthrowing President Assad, as suggested by author Nicholas Blanford in his book, Killing Mr. Lebanon. According to this version, Kenaan, when confronted with the evidence, chose to commit suicide rather than face disgrace. It is highly doubtful that Hariri had any personal knowledge or involvement in the conspiracy.
Political assassinations are not new to Lebanon. The first prime minister in the independence era, Riad al-Solh, was assassinated in 1951. The list of those assassinated before Hariri is long. Prominent journalists, members of parliament and Muslim religious leaders were assassinated as well, before, during and after the war on Lebanon. Starting from 1957 the list includes editors of daily or weekly papers: Nasib Metni, Riad Taha, Kamel Mroueh and Salim Lozi. Assassinated members of parliament include Mohammad Abboud, Naim Mghabghab, Marouf Saad, Kamal Jumblatt, and Nazem al-Qadri. Former MP, minister and militia leader Elie Hobeika and party leader and former militia leader Dany Shamoun were assassinated, the latter with his wife and two small children. MP Toni Franjieh was assassinated with his wife and little girl as part of the Ehden massacre that took over 30 other lives.
Four Muslim Sunni religious leaders were assassinated, namely, Grand Mufti Sheikh Hassan Khalid, Sheikh Sobhi Saleh, Sheikh Ahmad Assaf and Sheikh Nizar Halabi. A Shiite religious leader, Imam Mousa Sadr, disappeared without trace with two companions, journalist Abbas Badred-dine and Sheikh Mohammad Yakoub, while they were in Libya as guests of the Libyan government, and are presumed to have been assassinated. Many prominent writers, including Kamal el Haj, Husain Mroueh and Hasan Hamdan, were gunned down. Political party leaders such as Khalil Naous, Isam Arab, Ramzi Irani, Adnan Sinno and Wisam Zenid-dine were assassinated. Many foreign diplomats were murdered, including an American ambassador and two of his companions (the kidnappers were arrested and brought to trial but were freed pursuant to one of the amnesties), French, Iraqis and Jordanians.
Four Iranian diplomats were kidnapped and presumably assassinated. Two embassies, the American and the Iraqi, were blown up with heavy casualties.
Malcolm Kerr, president of AUB, was assassinated. A prominent Iraqi exile, Sheikh Taleb Tamimi, was murdered and his accused killers, diplomats with the Iraqi Embassy, were allowed to leave the country due to their diplomatic immunity. One sitting president, Rene Muawad, and one president-elect, Bashir Gemayel, were assassinated. A sitting prime minister, Rashid Karameh, was assassinated in 1987.
An attempt was made on the life of another sitting prime minister, Salim Hoss, from which he escaped miraculously, but others died.
Most of those crimes either went unresolved or unpunished or were whitewashed by general amnesty.
This long list of crimes does not make the assassination of Hariri a lesser crime or less deserving of prosecution and punishment. But there is no logical or moral basis for fully investigating, and eventually prosecuting, the Hariri case to the exclusion of all the previous cases.
Nor is there at this point sufficient evidence to justify the instant and persistent stigmatization of Syria in the assassination and every subsequent and preceding political crime.
The Hariri Tribunal is openly viewed by Syria's Lebanese adversaries, formerly its allies, as the vehicle to indict and bring down the entire Syrian regime. This approach may also be favored by the United States and France, which aim at obtaining major regional political concessions from the Syrian leadership. If true, it turns the proposed court into a potent political and strategic instrument.
Ideally, an investigation into the possible role of foreign governments should not start out by excluding any country. Western as well as Middle Eastern governments have in the past carried out political assassinations. The Israeli government, for one, cannot be excluded, as it has a proven history of such state-ordered crimes, particularly in Lebanon, which many Israeli leaders unabashedly brag about. This is not meant as an indictment of Israel in the Hariri murder. The point being raised is that the zeal to incriminate Syria has unjustifiably and prematurely eliminated all other options before any evidence has been presented.
The Judge Selection Process and the "Free Gasoline" Episode
The proposal for the Hariri Tribunal calls for the appointment by the UN secretary general of its judges from among Lebanese and non-Lebanese candidates.
Regardless of the legality issues affecting the Hariri court proposal, the process of judge selection ought to be open, transparent and subject to contribution by qualified jurists led by judges of the International Court of Justice.
The sad experience of the Solidere commissions should not be repeated. An open process could enhance the credibility of the Hariri court, especially since its purported raison d'etre is the perceived inability of the domestic Lebanese justice system to cope with the Hariri assassination case. The authority to appoint judges should be vested exclusively in the Lebanese government in accordance with due Lebanese constitutional and legal process. Judges should be accountable from all aspects in accordance with Lebanese law.
The "free gasoline" episode, described below, makes it very questionable that such a procedure can be followed.
On July 12, 2007, an application was brought before a chamber of the Lebanese Court of Cassation headed by Judge Ralph Riashi, to transfer, for legitimate suspicion, the Hariri murder investigation case, currently seized by Lebanese justice authorities, from Justice Investigating Judge Elias Eid who had been entrusted with it since March 24, 2005, to another judge.
Judge Riashi had been a key Lebanese negotiator on behalf of the Lebanese Ministry of Justice and had conducted discussions with the office of the secretary general over the drafts for the proposed Hariri court instruments. Riashi's conduct of negotiations on behalf of the minister of justice was obviously in blatant violation of the constitutional rule of separation of powers and of the constitution that plainly gives the president of the republic exclusive power over the negotiation of international agreements.
On September 6, 2007, the Riashi court admitted the request and recused Eid on the basis of solid evidence that he had been regularly receiving from the Surete Generale, Lebanon's political police and intelligence service, 300 litres of premium gasoline per month for free, beginning from February 2003.
General Jamil Al-Sayed, until recently director general of Surete Generale, is under arrest in the investigation of the Hariri murder.
Even more troubling, Judge Eid was not alone in receiving Surete Generale favors. It turns out from documentary evidence on file in Riashi's court that many other prosecutors and judges are or were in the same boat as Eid. Prominent among them are Said Mirza, chief public prosecutor before the Court of Cassation and Adnan Addoum, his predecessor. Documentary evidence received by the Riashi court on July 27, 2007, from the minister of the interior in the said recusal proceedings also implicates the last three presidents of Higher Judiciary Council: Mounir Hunain, Nasri Lahoud and Tanios el Khouri, judicial inspector general and former first investigating judge for Mount Lebanon Fawzi Dagher, and the public prosecutor for Beirut Joseph Maamari.
The Surete Generale is not exactly the KGB but has, by law, many of its functions. Why it would it deliver free premium gasoline to prosecutors and judges, and what it expected from them in return remains an open question. What is clear is that the key Lebanese prosecutors and the investigating judge designated for the Hariri murder investigation, who all worked closely with the UNSC-appointed commission, benefited illicitly from the Surete Generale free gasoline scheme. It is less clear how many of the nominees to the Hariri court have benefited similarly.
All this leads to the inevitable conclusion that the integrity of the Hariri murder investigation, as well the future process of the Hariri court, could have been seriously compromised.
The Power to Create Special International Courts
The Hariri court is based on an exception to the basic principle of national sovereignty in the United Nations Charter (Article 2, paragraph 1) namely the application of enforcement measures stipulated under Chapter VII (Article 2, paragraph 7 UNC). Enforcement measures presuppose the existence of an international dispute, likely to threaten international peace and security, arising between states that have failed to settle their conflicts under Chapter VI on the Pacific settlement of disputes. Article 33 of this chapter reads:
1. The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their choice.
As a general rule, Article 36, paragraph 3 of the UNC requires that legal disputes be referred by the parties to the International Court of Justice. In fact, Article 7 UNC makes the International Court of Justice one of the principal organs of the United Nations on a par with the General Assembly and the Security Council, and Article 1 of the court's statutes recognizes it as the principal judicial department of the organization. It is therefore inconceivable that the Security Council derives from the UNC any power to create other courts of law.
Despite the fact that the UN Security Council lacks any such authority in the charter, it did act to create two international penal courts basing itself on Chapter VII UNC which provides it with no such power, namely the International Court for the Prosecution of Persons Responsible for Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law Committed in the Territory of the Former Yugoslavia, of May 25, 1993, and the International Tribunal for Rwanda, of November 8, 1994. The crimes and violations covered by the mandate of these tribunals were committed in war situations where multinational military forces, in the case of the former Yugoslavia, and UN Forces, in the case of Rwanda, had operated. In addition, the UNSC approved the establishment of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, of August 14, 2000, in agreement with the government.
In stark contrast to the these three tribunals, the Extraordinary Chamber in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) was established in 2001 by legislation passed by the Cambodian National Assembly and welcomed by Resolution 57/228 of the UN General Assembly which was followed by an assistance agreement between the Cambodian government and the secretary general. ECCC has a majority of Cambodian judges and operates in Cambodia as a part of the Cambodian judicial system. The common denominator of all the above mentioned courts is their mandate to prosecute and try individuals for crimes against humanity such as genocide and violations of the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law.
The proposed special court for Lebanon is different. To begin with, it totally ignores all previous crimes against humanity or in violation of international humanitarian law. The proposal also ignores similar criminal acts committed by state parties in the context of regional military conflicts involving Lebanon, such as Israel, the United States and other state parties. Some may argue that such a court is politically unfeasible but no one can deny that it is morally imperative. In ignoring the regional dimensions of Lebanon's bloody past, the UNSC has departed from former practices in Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Cambodia.
Moreover, the legal basis for the court, UNSC Resolution 1757 of May 30, 2007, has an inherent contradiction when "reiterating its call for the strict respect" for the sovereignty and political independence of the Republic of Lebanon under "the sole and exclusive authority" of its government, but at the same time deciding that the provisions of the agreement said to have been entered into between the government of Lebanon and the secretary general "shall come into effect."Article 52 LC requires the prior approval of parliament for the ratification of such agreements.
Furthermore, the power to enter such agreements and to ratify the same, after the authority of parliament is obtained where required, is vested exclusively with the president. The prime minister, though entitled by the constitution to speak for the Council of Ministers and its policy domestically, is not authorized by the constitution to represent the state, the Republic of Lebanon, either domestically or internationally.
Decreeing into force a draft of an agreement that has not been duly executed or duly ratified by the Republic of Lebanon in accordance with its constitutional process is, unquestionably, outside the powers of the Security Council. By accepting to force the tribunal through, the Council has unwittingly engaged in the domestic game of one-time exceptions, on the assumption that justice cannot not be done within a strictly Lebanese judicial environment.
The Security Council should not function in violation of UNC or the constitutions and internal legal systems of UN members with the impunity that is so characteristic of Middle Eastern politics. It is undeniable that something is grossly wrong with the judiciary in Lebanon, as this article has documented.
It is the duty of the Lebanese government to introduce such comprehensive reforms to the judicial system as may be reasonably necessary, possibly with the support of the United Nations. It is even understandable to provisionally borrow foreign judges, like the old "Mixed Courts" of pre-independence Lebanon did, in a possible imitation of the example of Cambodia, a country with a legal tradition largely similar to Lebanon's.
However, it is morally wrong to single out one murder case for a quasi international tribunal that would cost more that the entire Lebanese court system combined. While the author fully supports universal jurisdiction, he strongly believes that such jurisdiction should supplement, and not replace, domestic jurisdiction.
What is urgently needed to support the credibility of the United Nations, and more particularly the credibility of the Security Council and the office of the secretary general, is to also show prompt serious interest in swiftly achieving three much needed reforms:
First, a sweeping overhaul of Lebanon's justice system, with the utilization of available resources equal or superior to those used or to be used in the independent commission's investigation and the Hariri court itself, with the aim of ending the environment of impunity, immunity, none-accountability and establishing the rule of law.
Second, with strong UNSC support, establishing a potent international human rights court for the Middle East and North Africa with original jurisdiction over violations of human rights, humanitarian law, abuse of power, and denial of justice, which would have the power to hear original complaints, the power to hear appeals from decisions of domestic courts, and the power to order penalties, sanctions and reparations. Sovereign immunity should not be allowed to be pleaded as a defence in such a court.
Third, The UNSC should conduct itself strictly within the powers explicitly granted to it by the UN Charter and thereby set an example to the UN members of the fullest respect for the rule of law.
The Hariri court, with the proper and transparent selection of judges as herein proposed, can and should be set up in conformity with due Lebanese constitutional and legal process guided by the Cambodian example. Furthermore, the above mentioned vital reforms should concurrently, seriously and credibly be implemented, backed by adequate resources. All this could add to the rise of the rule of law, in Lebanon, the Middle East and North Africa and the world

Assafir - General Sayyed, July 29, 2008

السيد: موقف جنبلاط تطوّر إيجابي
اعتبر اللواء الركن جميل السيّد أنّ »كلام النائب وليد جنبلاط على محطّة »الجديد« حول الضبّاط الأربعة المعتقلين سياسياً، يمثّل تطوراً إيجابياً بالمقارنة مع مواقفه السابقة«. ولفت اللواء السيّد في بيان أصدره مكتبه الاعلامي، نظر النائب جنبلاط »إلى أنّ قوله بأنّ يُترك البتّ باعتقالهم إلى القضاء الدولي، إنمّا يتناقض كلّياً مع القانون اللبناني ومع الموقف الرسمي المعلن الذي صدر تكراراً عن لسان رئيسي اللجنة الدولية القاضي سيرج برامرتز وبعده القاضي دانيال بلمار، من أنّه لا علاقة للجــنة الدولية باعتقال الضــبّاط، وأنّ مســألة البتّ به هي من المســؤولية الحصرية للقضاء اللبــناني الذي يستمّر وحده باعتــقالهم، خــلافاً لنتائج التحقيــقات التي توصلت إليها اللجنة الدولية بعدما أسقطت عنهم افتراءات شهود الزور، فاقتـضى التوضيح«.

Almustaqbal - L'investigation et le Tribunal Special pour le Liban, July 29, 2008

التحقيق والمحكمةغير معنيين بالمناخات الاقليمية
المستقبل - الثلاثاء 29 تموز 2008 - العدد 3032 - شؤون لبنانية - صفحة 2

ثريا شاهين
تفاوتت في الآونة الأخيرة الآراء الداخلية بالنسبة إلى مدى تأثير المناخ الدولي ـ الاقليمي الأكثر ايجابية على مسار المحكمة والتحقيق في جريمة اغتيال الرئيس الشهيد رفيق الحريري ورفاقه، والجرائم الأخرى ذات الصلة.إلا ان أوساطاً ديبلوماسية دولية لا ترى على الإطلاق أي تأثير بين الاثنين أو أي رابط، ذلك ان ملف الجريمة والمحكمة مسار منفصل عن كل هذه الأجواء وعن السياسة، وهو يسير على السكة المطلوبة وفقاً للقرارات الدولية، ولا يمكن لأي جهة الرجوع عنها أو نقضها، لأنها باتت جزءاً لا يتجزأ من الشرعية الدولية، وهي الشرعية التي لا يمكن بالتالي أن تعمل لتعاكس أو تنقض ما كانت توصلت إليه.وتبعاً لذلك، فإن التحقيق يستكمل وقد حسمت نهائياً مسألة عدم التمديد مرة أخرى لولاية لجنة التحقيق المستقلة في الجريمة والتي تنتهي آخر شهر كانون الأول المقبل. وسيتولى رئيسها دانيال بيلمار منذ مطلع السنة الجديدة منصبه في المحكمة مدعياً عاماً، لكن من غير ان تكون لهذه الخطوة إلزامية بدء المحاكمة لأنها ستكون خاضعة لإعلان بيلمار انه توصل إلى النتائج التي تمكنه من إقفال ملف التحقيق من وجهة النظر القانونية، الأمر الذي يشكل نقطة أساسية في تحديد الموعد الفعلي لانطلاق المحاكمة، ولا يمكن اعتبار هذا الواقع على سبيل الحجة لتأخير انطلاقة المحاكمة أو ربط ذلك بأجواء ايجابية قائمة بين المجتمع الدولي ودول اقليمية. ولهذا السبب سيستكمل بيلمار التحقيق ولو تولى منصب المدعي العام، وعندما ينهيه يصدر القرار الاتهامي وتبدأ المحاكمة.وتتزامن هذه الوقائع مع استكمال الأمم المتحدة كل الإجراءات المطلوبة لبدء عمل المحكمة، من حيث التمويل الذي اكتمل للسنة الأولى من عملها واكتمال الالتزامات للسنة الثانية، ومن حيث تجهيز المبنى الذي لا يلزمه وقت طويل، فضلاً عن استكمال العنصر البشري بتعيين رئيس مكتب الدفاع فيها في أيلول المقبل، ويؤخذ في الاعتبار بدء عمل المحكمة من الناحية التمويلية بحيث يفضل ان تبدأ عندما يقترب التحقيق من نهايته، وليس في ظل عدم وضوح أفق التحقيق لأن تمويلها من مساهمات دولية ذاتية وتبرعات وليس على نفقة الأمم المتحدة كلجنة التحقيق.ولن يتضمن تقرير بيلمار الأخير كرئيس للجنة في أيلول، اختراقاً ما للمسار الذي كانت تتصف به تقارير اللجنة، إذ سيتحدث عن تقدم التحقيق، وعن المرحلة الانتقالية لتسلمه منصب المدعي العام أول السنة من دون ان يعطي أسماء أو اتهامات، في انتظار إنهاء الملف بالكامل.وأوضحت الأوساط انه لا داعي للمبالغة بالنسبة إلى الأجواء الايجابية القائمة، إذ لم يحصل بعد أي تطور فعلي، ولا تفاوض حقيقي، وإذا كان المناخ مريحاً، إلا انه لم يشهد أي حلول للأزمات والخلافات الموجودة على المستوى الدولي ـ الاقليمي، ولو لقضية واحدة. وفي مثل هذا الوضع، فإن كل هذه الأزمات تشكل أوراقاً تبقى مفتوحة إذا لم تتوافر الإرادة الشاملة بإقفالها نهائياً. وكل ما في الأمر هو ان ليس هناك نية تصعيدية وأن كل الأطراف لديها مصلحة بالتهدئة، وتتقاطع مصالحها حول مرحلة التهدئة المطلوبة، والعمل لتحضير الأجواء لما بعد وصول الحكم الجديد في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، وتنعدم الأهداف السياسية الكبرى في مثل هذه الحالة بحيث يسود تقطيع الوقت.وتؤشر كل المعطيات التي تحيط بالتحقيق والمحكمة إلى مسيرة استكمال الإجراءات، مؤكدة الفصل بين هذه القضية وكل القضايا السياسية أو الدولية الأخرى المطروحة حتى ان العديد من السفراء المعتمدين لدى الأمم المتحدة يسألون بيلمار عن تفاصيل في التحقيق، فلا يقدم أي معلومات.

Daily Star - The syndrome of one-time exceptions and the drive to establish the proposed Hariri court, July 28, 2008

By Muhamad Mugraby

Editor's note: The following is the first half of an article on the Lebanese legal system and the drive to try suspects in the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The article was first published by the Center for Democracy and the Rule of Law in Beirut and is republished with permission. The second part of the article will appear in Tuesday's issue of The Daily Star.

The ongoing drive to set up a quasi-international court for the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in Beirut on 14 February 14, 2005, and the heavy involvement of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in those efforts, ignore the structural complications of the Republic of Lebanon. This article argues that while Lebanon's very recent legacy of murder, massacres and disappearances have given rise to a deep need for truth and conciliation, the Hariri investigation sidesteps the massive corruption-linked impunity that has plagued the Lebanese political and judicial systems.
Furthermore, the involvement of the Security Council has unwittingly endorsed the 'one-time exception to the rule' syndrome prevailing in Lebanon, by which lawmakers improvise one-time unconstitutional and unlawful solutions to differing manifestations of the same chronic problems. As a result, the underlying Lebanese crises worsen and give birth to more crises without any realistic prospect for management. The most recent phase of the ongoing Lebanese crisis that started when President Emile Lahoud's term of office was extended in September of 2004 in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 1559, is a case in point. This, and subsequent UNSC resolutions regarding Lebanon, have strengthened the faulty one-time-exception approach, endorsed a culture of impunity by turning a blind eye to the mountain of horrific crimes that preceded the Hariri assassination, and dealt an unfortunate blow to the prospect of a Lebanese rule of law.
The Security Council proposes to set up, in a highly unorthodox way, a special one-time quasi-international court to try a single criminal case, that of the Hariri murder. The prospective Hariri court is projected to cost an average of $40 million per annum (Office of the UN Secretary General, 2007; the international investigation has so far cost over $15 million, half of which was paid by the Lebanese Treasury). In comparison, the annual budget of the entire Lebanese justice system is barely $30 million. Furthermore, the tribunal will employ more personnel than the entire Palace of Justice in Beirut.
These are staggering figures given that the merits and demerits of the Hariri court proposal were never permitted to be freely and openly debated in Lebanon. If strong international involvement in Lebanon is unavoidable, it could perhaps be directed more fruitfully by applying similar resources to support freedom of expression and the press, the rule of law, respect for the provisions of the Lebanese constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and a sweeping judicial reform aimed at the restoration of basic credibility and integrity of Lebanon's constitutional and judicial systems. Finally, international involvement could ensure that qualified Lebanese judges and prosecutors, possibly with limited participation of highly qualified foreign judges and prosecutors, take on the Hariri case as well as dozens, perhaps hundreds of similar cases and other crimes against humanity in Lebanon and the Region in a way similar to the Cambodian model.
The Killing of Hariri and International Intervention
The murder of Rafik Hariri in 2005 came after years of worsening relations between Syria and the United States. The United States had been supportive of Syria's military intervention in Lebanon in 1976, to leash Palestinian forces. In 1982, it became militarily involved in Lebanon as part of a multinational force formed on the heels of the Israeli invasion of June, 1982. Having been forced to retreat from Lebanon in 1984, the US military returned to the region in force in 1990 to roll back the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, and in 2001-03 to invade and occupy Iraq and Afghanistan. Despite its support for the First Gulf War under President Hafez Assad, the Syrian government under President Bashar Assad (Assad II) did not support the Second Gulf War, launched by President Bush II and was accused of supporting the Iraqi resistance to US occupation. Hence Syria's relationship with the United States deteriorated. As the Iraq war worsened, President Bush on December 12, 2003 signed the 'Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003.'
The new act authorized a combination of punitive economic sanctions and diplomatic measures and signalled a new round of confrontation between the US and Syria. The first battle in this confrontation was Lebanon. As the term of President Lahoud - like his predecessor Elias Hrawi elected under Syrian sponsorship - was to expire in November 2004, a semi-official press release was issued on behalf of Lahoud on August 24, 2004, asserting his willingness to serve a new full term in office pursuant to a new constitutional amendment. This breach of Article 49 of the Constitution was a repeat of a similar measure in 1995 when Parliament had the term of Hrawi extended for three years.
In 1995, the United States and France had cast a blind eye on the extension of Hrawi's term. Not so in 2004. The United States took strong exception to the prospect of extending Lahoud's term of office. The US/French-drafted Security Council Resolution 1559 was passed on September 2, 2004, calling for 'a free and fair electoral process in Lebanon's upcoming presidential election conducted according to the Lebanese constitutional rules.' The resolution also called for:
(1) withdrawal from Lebanon of 'all remaining foreign forces,' meaning the Syrian army (although the Lebanese government was and continues to take the position that Israeli troops occupy Lebanese territory in and around the Shebaa Farms area) and
(2) the 'disbanding and disarmament of all Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias,' meaning Hizbullah.
The following day the Lebanese Parliament met and approved a constitutional law extending Lahoud's term for three years.
When Hariri was assassinated, the UN Security Council, prompted by the United States and France, each with different motives, quickly decried the crime and reacted to it in a number of ways. Firstly the secretary general was directed to send a fact-finding mission to Lebanon to inquire into the 'circumstances, causes and consequences of this terrorist act.' The mission, headed by Peter Fitzgerald, an Irish deputy police commissioner, arrived in Beirut on February 24, 2005, and completed the mission's work in one month. Its report concluded that 'the Lebanese security services and the Syrian Military Intelligence bear the primary responsibility for the lack of security, protection, law and order in Lebanon;' that 'the Government of Syria bears primary responsibility for the political tension that preceded the assassination of former Prime Minister Mr. Hariri'; and that the Lebanese investigation process suffered from serious flaws. The report ended by urging that 'the restoration of the integrity and credibility of the Lebanese security apparatus is of vital importance to the security and stability of the country.'
Following the Fitzgerald Mission report, the UN Security Council adopted a series of resolutions, namely:
A. Resolution 1595 of April 7, 2005. This resolution called the crime of assassinating Hariri a 'terrorist bombing' and appointed an independent international investigation commission.
B. Resolution 1636 of October 31, 2005. This resolution acknowledged with apparent approval the conclusion of the investigation committee, headed by a former German prosecutor, in its first report that the crime could not have taken place 'without the approval of top-ranked Syrian security officials.'
C. Resolution 1644 of December 15 2005. This resolution demanded that Syria respond 'immediately and unambiguously in those areas adduced by the Commissioner and also that it implements without delay any future request of the Commission.'
D. Resolution 1664 of March 29, 2006. This resolution acknowledges a letter by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to the secretary general requesting the establishment of a 'tribunal of an international character to try all those who are found responsible for this terrorist crime.'
E. Resolution 1757 of May 30, 2007. This resolution cited a letter by Siniora to the UN secretary general advising him to put the Special Tribunal into effect despite the lack of ratification from the Lebanese Parliament. Invoking the council's power under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the UNSC decided 'that the provisions of the annexed document (the agreement), including its attachment (the proposed statutes of the court) ... shall enter into force on June 10 2007'.
Legal Culture and History in Lebanon
The intervention of the UN Security Council in Lebanon since 2004 must be seen against the background of the way in which Lebanon and its legal culture have been shaped by previous foreign intervention. The Republic of Lebanon stands on territories that were, for several centuries, part of the Ottoman Sultanate, and before that, from the seventh century AD, part of many Islamic kingdoms. For most of the nineteenth and the early part of the twentieth century, the Ottoman Sultanate underwent vast legal reforms as part of a comprehensive modernization process to enable its full participation in the European community of nations. The centerpiece of the reforms was the codification of civil law based on the Islamic Shariah. The new code was called Majallat al-Ahkam al-Adliah, the Code of Justice Rules. A significant part of this code is still in effect in Lebanon. In the early part of the twentieth century, two more modern laws were enacted: the Code of Judicial Procedure, which remained in force in Lebanon until superseded by the Code of Civil Procedure in 1932, and the Law of Associations which remains in force to the present day.
When the French expeditionary force landed in Beirut in October 1919, there was already a strong legal tradition in place based on a rich mix of Islamic Shariah and modern Ottoman codes. The French army claimed the Ottoman territories of Syria, including those that were to become the State of Greater Lebanon, pursuant to the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916.
After securing Damascus, French Commanding General Gourau returned to Beirut where, on August 31, 1920, he issued a decree declaring the annexation of the occupied Wilayat (administrational districts) of Beirut, including most of South Lebanon and part of the Bikaa, Tripoli, including Denniah and Akkar, and parts of the Wilaya of Damascus, namely the Qadha of Biqaa, the Qadha of Baalbek, the Qadha of Hasbaya, and the Qadha of Rashaya, to Mount Lebanon. The following day, September 1, 1920, Gourau issued another decree declaring the birth of 'Greater Lebanon' from all those territories. On September 29, 1923, France received a League of Nations mandate to rule Syria and Greater Lebanon. Greater Lebanon was renamed the 'Republic of Lebanon' under the constitution of May 23, 1926.
Although the French generals and other high commissioners who followed Gourau saw to it that the Republic of Lebanon did not only have a liberal constitution modelled on the French one, albeit with restricted sovereignty, the executive branch which included the ministers individually or as a cabinet, the prime minister and the president, paid little or no respect to the constitution or the written law. Furthermore, legislators habitually adopted laws in plain violation of the constitution, often delegating their legislative powers to the executive to issue laws by decree. Even more gravely, judges were ordered by statute not to examine cases of conflict between statutes and the constitution, which meant that they must apply all statutes regardless of apparent unconstitutionality.
An Environment of Impunity
No wonder then that an environment of impunity, with almost absolute immunity from prosecution, lack of accountability, and corruption, took root under the French Mandate and full hold of the country upon independence. Politicians and officials in high office got away with breaking the law, and so did their relatives, friends and cohorts. It started with gifts and commissions. It developed into the rape of public funds and assets, virtual highway robbery and mass murder including ethnic cleansing and other crimes against humanity.
Politicians formed their own private militias and commanders of such militias graduated into politics, unconcerned with their public history of bloodshed and looting. Here are some illustrations:
Unpunished Treason
On November 22, 1943, the will of the Lebanese people through their elected representatives triumphed over the will of their former French masters. A freshly elected parliament had convened and on November 9, 1943 introduced daring constitutional amendments that erased every mention of the Mandate or French mandatory authorities. French army soldiers responded the following day by arresting the president, the prime minister and a number of ministers who were within reach. A popular outburst of protest was suppressed by military force with scores of dead and wounded civilians. Many political activists were also detained without respect for due process. After 12 days in captivity the French released the leaders on what became Independence Day. In the interval, the French High Commissioner appointed a new president, Emile Edde, a former president, who accepted office with little hesitation assisted by a number of ministers. What happened after independence was true to the environment of impunity. Neither Edde nor his ministers were charged or prosecuted with such high treason offenses as aggression against Lebanon, colluding with a foreign power, attacking the constitution and usurping a constitutional power. Subsequently, many other politicians committed acts of treason without fear of being held accountable.
Crimes against Humanity
During the war on Lebanon from 1975 to 1990, a large number of politically motivated assassinations, massacres and acts of ethnic cleansing took place in Lebanon. None of them have been seriously investigated and no one prosecuted, indicted or tried. In January 1976, the poor Beirut suburb of Qarantina was razed after a large number of its residents were gunned down. Many residents of the town of Damour were simultaneously massacred and most of its houses razed. The Beirut suburb of Nab'aa was heavily damaged in the same year and many of its residents killed in order to drive away the remaining residents. Road blocks were randomly put in place where passersby were instantly murdered or simply vanished if they belonged to the 'wrong' religious community. In what became known as Black Saturday pedestrians in downtown Beirut were rounded up and members of the 'wrong' religious community instantly killed. In 1977, following the assassination of Kamal Jumblatt, hundreds of the residents of the Chouf District were killed in cold blood and many others fled. In 1982 the Palestinian and Lebanese residents of Sabra and Shatila were massacred to drive away the Palestinians and take revenge for the murder of president elect Bashir Gemayel. The resort town of Bhamdoun was overrun in 1985 and all residents who were found in their homes were killed in cold blood. Countless other massacres and acts of ethnic cleansing took place in Lebanon in the 1970s and 1980s. Tens of thousands of Lebanese disappeared and have not been accounted for by the state. The crimes of the war on Lebanon are comparable to the crimes that took place in the former Yugoslavia and merit an international investigation of the unwillingness of the murderers and/or their political allies to investigate them.
Whitewash by General Amnesty
Under Article 53 of the Lebanese constitution the president may issue special pardons, but general amnesty requires legislation. Covert amnesty is often given simply by lack of prosecution, as in the case of former President Emile Edde and his associates. Other general amnesties issued by parliament include:
A. On October 19, 1949, a general amnesty was issued for crimes committed before September 12, 1949, including all crimes with a penalty of one year's imprisonment or less, half the penalty in excess of one year, and one-third the penalty for murder.
B. On August 31, 1951, a general amnesty was issued for all crimes related to general elections carrying a prison sentence up to three years, other than crimes of an indecent character.
C. On December 24, 1958, all crimes of a political nature and acts of rebellion and infraction of state security received full amnesty and sentences of all other crimes committed before October 15, 1958 were reduced, with the exception of those of an indecent character.
D. A similar amnesty was issued on February 17, 1969, for acts committed before January 1, 1967.
E. A similar amnesty was issued on August 26, 1991 for acts committed before 28 March 1991.
F. A general amnesty for all drug-related crimes committed before December 31, 1995 was issued by Law No. 666 of December 19, 1997.
G. On July 19, 2005, an amnesty was issued for five specific sentences against Samir Geagea, head of the Lebanese Forces militia and party. In one of those cases, Geagea was convicted and sentenced for blowing up Prime Minister Rashid Karami in 1987 while the latter was travelling from his Tripoli home to his government office in Beirut on a military helicopter under the protection of the army. Simultaneously, another amnesty was issued for the prosecutions related to the Dinniah and Majdel Anjar violent clashes in two cases, one pending before the military court and the other before the Justice Council. It is clear that those amnesties were politically motivated in the wake of the retreat of the Syrian army from Lebanon in April, 2005.
The Law that was not Meant to be
A law was enacted by parliament on January 11, 1958, temporarily suspending Articles 308-313 and 315 of the penal code and provisionally imposing the death sentence for a variety of attacks on national security. It has never been either repealed or enforced. In the opinion of the author it has been rendered void by the amnesty of December 24, 1958 which implicitly certified that the reasons for the suspension and provisional penalties were no longer present.
Half-hearted Prosecutions
On February 2, 2000, the public prosecutor for Mount Lebanon charged Fouad Siniora, former minister of state for financial affairs in the Hariri cabinet that resigned upon the election of General Lahoud to the office of president in November 1998, under Article 363 of the Penal Code, for having made a settlement for, and paid, an Italian company nearly $50 million in satisfaction of a claim related to a project to install a garbage incinerator for Metn District that was never installed.
Article 363 provided for a prison term of up to three years. Siniora's lawyers presented to the investigating judge a motion to dismiss on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction and maintained that, as a former minister, the proper authority to prosecute Siniora was the High Council under the rules of parliament. The judge dismissed the motion on February 23, 2000. Siniora appealed and the Mount Lebanon Court of Appeal confirmed, on March 9, 2000, the investigating judge's decision. Siniora appealed to the Court of Cassation.
On October 26, 2000, a new cabinet was appointed by President Lahoud with Rafik Hariri as prime minister and Fouad Siniora as minister of finance. The following day, the General Panel of the Court of Cassation met and issued a decision in which it agreed to review the lower court's judgment with respect to the issue of jurisdiction. On November 16, 2000, the General Panel issued a decision accepting Siniora's challenge to the jurisdiction of the regular judiciary and left it to parliament to carry on the prosecution. The court was chaired by the first president of the Court of Cassation, Mounir Hunain. The two opinions were authored by Judge Ralph Riashi.
In the meantime Chahe Barsomian, the former minister of energy in the same Hariri cabinet that left office in 1998, was being prosecuted under the same Article 363 and other articles of the Penal Code together with six alleged accomplices. The importation of oil products for power generation and other uses was exclusively controlled by the ministry which gave out contracts for inflated prices with a handful of importers exercising a de facto franchise. The importers were all companies owned directly or indirectly by influential politicians or their close relatives. Barsomian was accused of coordinating the spectrum of activities. His lawyers made a motion of lack of jurisdiction similar to the one made later by Siniora. The Court of Cassation dismissed his application on March 24, 1999, making his indictment final.
After Siniora got a ruling in his favor on the same issue, it became a matter of time before Barsomian benefited from that development. On November 30, 2002, Barsomian moved for dismissal of his indictment due to lack of jurisdiction. On December 16, 2002 the criminal court so ordered.
The above precedents notwithstanding, a former minister of agriculture, Ali Ajaj Abdallah, who served with Siniora on the same Hariri Cabinet appointed on October 26, 2000, was charged on September 2, 2003 with the misappropriation of 267 cows which made part of a donation of over 2,500 cows by USAID in the total appraised value of $15 million. He was arrested on December 9, 2003. Abdallah, guided by the precedents of Siniora and Barsomian, made a similar plea of lack of jurisdiction but was indicted by first investigating judge of Beirut, Hatem Madi, on January 22, 2004, and the indictment was confirmed on February 4, 2004, by the Court of Appeal, headed by Jamil Bayram. Abdallah further appealed to the Court of Cassation, and the court, headed by Afif Shamseddine, dismissed the appeal and upheld the jurisdiction of regular courts to prosecute and try him. His case remains pending before the Criminal Tribunal of Beirut as of December 2007.
Another famous case of a half-hearted prosecution involves current opposition leader Michel Aoun. General Michel Aoun was commander of the Lebanese army when he was appointed prime minister by President Amine Gemayel on September 22, 1988, literally in the last hour of his presidency, to lead a cabinet consisting of six military officers who had constituted the Military Council. This appointment was contested by the outgoing acting prime minister, Salim Hoss. As no new president could be elected, the new cabinet assumed the powers of the presidency in accordance with the constitution. Despite the immediate defection of half of its members Aoun's government was soon involved in bloody confrontations with the Syrian army and the Lebanese forces militia. On October 13, 1990, the Syrian army attacked Aoun's positions in force and took control of the presidential palace where Aoun had established his command. Aoun took refuge at the French embassy.
Several months later he and his ministers were permitted to go to exile in France under the terms of a special pardon decree signed by Syrian-sponsored President Hrawi and conditioned on total abstention from exercising any political activity for five years. Before accepting the special pardon, Aoun had already been charged with the crimes of conspiracy and attack on the constitution and national security and those charges were left standing.
Aoun was politically active in France and after the lapse of five years he was permitted by the French government to travel abroad. One of his trips was to Washington in September of 2003 to testify before a congressional committee in favour of the 'Syrian Accountability and Lebanese Freedom Act.' As a result, Beirut Prosecutor Joseph Maamari quickly charged Aoun under Article 288 of the Penal Code for his testimony at the US Congress and referred the file to first investigating judge of Beirut, Hatem Madi, who issued an arrest warrant against Aoun on October 24, 2003. On November 13, 2003, Aoun was indicted by the Indictment Chamber of the Court of Appeal of Beirut headed by Jamil Bayram and referred to the criminal court for trial. In the meantime, the October 19, 1990, charges were resurrected and Assistant Prosecutor Jihad Wadi, who had, on May 12, 2003, been promoted to first president of the Court of Appeal of Beirut, was appointed special justice investigating judge in the Aoun case.
Aoun returned to Lebanon in triumph on Saturday May 7, 2005, in a chartered plane loaded with his supporters. Hereafter a number of remarkable judicial developments took place. On the petition of Aoun's lawyer to Judge Wadi, Wadi issued a decision on May 4, 2005 dismissing the 1990 charges against Aoun. The following day, the criminal court at Beirut met and, on the request of Aoun's lawyer, suspended the arrest warrant against him. On July 5, 2005, the court met again without Aoun being present and considered a request by his lawyer to dismiss the charges. At the end of the hearing it issued a final decision of dismissal. Aoun has since been elected to parliament and leads a large bloc of MPs.
Violation of the Constitution and Human Rights
As I document in the following, most pillars of constitutional government and human rights continue, from Independence Day onwards, to be openly disrespected.
A. Article 7 LC provides for the equality of all citizens without discrimination. This corresponds to Article 7UDHR and Paragraph 2 of the Preamble of the United Nations Charter (UNC). Yet the Lebanese are not recognized as equal in every sphere of life. They do not cast their votes in general elections subject to the one-man-one-vote standard. Parliamentary seats are apportioned among religious communities. They are not governed by uniform family and inheritance laws, and members of different religious communities are not eligible to inherit intestate from each other.
B. Article 12 LC provides for the eligibility of all Lebanese to assume public office based on qualification and merit. This corresponds to Paragraph 2 of Article 21 UDHR and Article 8 UNC. Yet public offices in the executive, the judiciary, the army, etc., are reserved for members of specific religious communities. For example, the president of the republic, the first president of the Court of Cassation (who is, ex officio, president of the Higher Judiciary Council) and the commander of the army are selected from the Maronite community.
C. The freedoms of speech, of the press and of association are all guaranteed by Article 13 LC, corresponding to Article 19 UDHR. Yet a cartel is established by law over the press and no licence to publish a new newspaper may be issued unless two existing licences are tendered for cancellation in return. Similarly, a near cartel exists for television and radio broadcasting. Heavy penalties are provided by the Penal Code and the Military Justice Code for the slightest criticism of authorities.
D. Article 15 LC guarantees the sanctity of private property, which corresponds to Article 17 UDHR. As I document below, this guarantee is often violated.
E. Article 20 provides that the judicial power shall be exercised by independent judges subject to safeguards for both judges and litigants, and that all decrees by judges shall be issued in the name of the People of Lebanon. The system is plagued by extraordinary jurisdictions such as the Justice Council, a criminal court of exception, headed by the first president of the Court of Cassation (a court that tries cases specifically referred to it by decree) and military courts consisting of military officers with no legal training that have jurisdiction over violations of a variety of crimes related to state security. A case study that follows shows that Article 20 of the constitution is not fully respected even outside the area of exceptional courts.
F. Article 19 provides for a constitutional council with jurisdiction over the constitutionality of new statutes and challenges to election results, both parliamentary and presidential. There is no such council actually in existence, as will be shown by a case study below.
G. The state has the exclusive right to levy and to collect taxes from the general public, but an increasing number of private associations are being licensed to exercise this power and to pocket the proceeds for their own purposes. Among such associations are the Lawyers Association, the Judges Solidarity Fund, the Association of Engineers and the Architects, and the Doctors, Dentists and Pharmacists associations.
H. Additionally, and in the context of the latest phase of the crisis following the extension of Lahoud's term of office, Prime Minister Siniora, together with a number of ministers, civil servants and judges allied thereto, violated Article 52 LC with respect to the exclusive power of the president to enter into international agreements on behalf of Lebanon and to ratify the same, Article 54 LC with respect to the president's power to refer draft bills to parliament for consideration, and Article 54 LC with respect to the president's power to issue governmental decrees co-signed by the prime minister and the minister concerned and to publish laws enacted by parliament.
The Violation of Articles 15 and 20 LC
Article 15 LC provides a guarantee for the right of private property except in the event of a taking for a public purpose in accordance with the law and after the payment of just compensation. Article 228 of the Law on Real Property provided six ways in which the right to real property may be acquired. These were by (1) inheritance, (2) will or gift, (3) possession, (4) right of priority, (5) prescription, or (6) contract.
The old town of Beirut, commonly known as the 'City,' was badly damaged during the years when gunmen under the command and protection of politicians were let loose. The City was the commercial and cultural center of the country as well as the center of its government. After the new Syrian-sponsored government under President Hrawi became firmly established, the issue of rehabilitation of the City's infrastructure was raised. The government of Prime Minister Omar Karami decided that the Lebanese treasury did not have sufficient resources to undertake the task.
On January 31, 1977, during a tranquil interval, the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) was established as an autonomous state agency. Initially, CDR was mainly of a consultative nature. By a 1985 legal amendment CDR was also charged with the task of executing projects for the rehabilitation of disaster stricken areas as ordered by the Council of Ministers.
By Law No. 117 of 1991, the CDR law was further amended to add a paragraph 6 to its Article 5. The new paragraph authorized CDR to implement the projects assigned to it by the Council of Ministers in areas damaged by war or other disasters, Council of Ministers 'either directly or through a public or a mixed corporation or a real estate company organized pursuant to Article 21 of the Code of Urban Regulations' (CUR), provided that its articles were approved by the Council of Ministers. Article 2 of Law No. 117 focused on the 'real estate company' by permitting its organization before the settlement of conflicts over 'the right of ownership of properties contributed to the company and other rights related thereto.'
Article 3 stated that 'the object of the real estate company as reorganizing one or more of the areas damaged by security events and selling the reorganized properties, building there on and selling or leasing the same.' The properties to fall under the company were to be decided by a decree issued by the Council of Ministers. Following that, the Council of Ministers was to appoint appraisal commissions headed by judges. Another category of commissions, also headed by judges, would have the responsibility for distributing the appraised values among the beneficiaries (landlords and lease-holders).
Upon the completion of subscription in the shares of the company the ownership of property rights and leaseholds were to automatically pass to the company. Upon the publication of the decree authorizing the organization of the company it should automatically acquire all publicly owned properties in the same area.
The decisions of the appraisal commission were final and not subject to any legal recourse of any kind including the one for exceeding authority. Moreover, the company was exempted from all stamp duties and taxes on the transfer of property and received a ten-year income tax holiday.
Only one company claimed the benefit of this law: Solidere (Societe Libanaise pour le Development et la Reconstruction du Centre Ville de Beyrouth). Solidere was launched with fanfare under the open
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patronage of Prime Minister Hariri, its founder and largest shareholder. It held itself to be the company and it is clear that a whole public law was originally designed to serve it. From the beginning, Solidere's primary object was to acquire those properties specified under Decree No. 2236, to finance and execute the works of the infrastructure in the area on behalf of and at the expense of the state, and to 'reorganize' its real estate holdings.
According to Law No. 117 and CUR, there were three steps to be followed in sequence. First, CDR had the mandate, under paragraph 4 of Article 5 of its law, in areas damaged by war or other disasters, to perform the tasks provided by Articles 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 of Legislative Decree No. 107 of June 30, 1977. These tasks are very interesting. They include the temporary acquisition by CDR of all the properties within the area of its operation, either through regular expropriation or by mutual agreement with the owners, the reorganization and rehabilitation of such properties, and securing the return of all the owners and lease-holders to new premises (Article 7). Upon completion of this task, the landlords shall receive real property rights, and the lease holders new leases, both equivalent of their respective old holdings less such share as may be needed for the creation and/or expansion of public areas like streets and parks.
Secondly, the Council of Ministers shall direct CDR to perform the projects in the areas referred to in paragraph 4 of Article 5 of its law either directly or through a defined number of agents including a real estate company organized pursuant to Article 21 CUR.
Thirdly, If CDR decides to use, as its agent, such real estate company, then its creation must be authorized by the Council of Ministers pursuant to Article 21 CUR.
Under this article, the company shall be organized by and between the landlords, the lease-holders and the government. The landlords and lease-holders shall contribute their rights and the government shall contribute property and funds. Nothing in this law suggests that participation in the company is anything but voluntary.
None of those conditions was fulfilled. The Council of Ministers did not issue a decree directing CDR to perform any project in the City. Solidere was organized without reference to Legislative Decree 107 of June 30, 1977. CDR did not recognize Solidere as its agent and gave it no mandate to perform any project. The consent of landlords and lease-holders was not solicited or obtained. It was not envisaged that they would be allowed to return to their premises.
Many landlords and tenants who took exception to Solidere refused to surrender their rights and went to court. Their actions were all dismissed both in regular courts and before the administrative court, the council of state, by judges who ruled unanimously in favour of Solidere. Buildings which were not damaged and were still occupied by the landlords and/or tenants were possessed, and their occupants evicted by force.
To the shock and grief of tens of thousands of dispossessed Lebanese, the appraisal commissions decreed very low values which were, pursuant to Law 117, incontestable before a court of law. Several applications brought before the General Panel of the Court of Cassation claiming gross errors in the lack of adversarial proceedings before the commissions were summarily dismissed and the applicants fined. The General Panel ruled that it had no jurisdiction over the judges who headed the commissions because the commissions were not part of the judiciary.
When it came to transferring the properties to Solidere, no procedure could be found in the statute book. The transaction did not fit any of the categories recognized by Article 228 of the law on real property for the acquisition of title. There was no contract. No expropriation decree was issued by the government.
The Real Estate Registry is part of the Ministry of Finance. Prime Minister Rafik Hariri held the portfolio personally until 1998. In fact the ministry was run de facto by Hariri's assistant, Fouad Siniora, who was minister of state for finance but had no direct authority over the Finance Ministry. Nevertheless, Siniora ordered the Real Estate Registry on June 2, 1994, to transfer title to the properties to Solidere 'as the transfer does not violate the laws in force.' The Real Estate Registry secretariat complied. A massive transfer of title was put into effect in favour of Solidere on the say-so of a minister without portfolio.
On other occasions, a simple letter by Solidere's chairman would suffice. One such letter, dated December 2, 1995, and addressed by Solidere's chairman to the secretary of the Central Real Estate Registry, Beirut, stated: Ref. Registration of properties in the name of Solidere SAL, Further to our letter of June 7, 1994, related to the captioned subject which stated that we will later provide you with a list of properties that may be returned where the owners did not exercise that right. Please find attached a list of the properties that should be transferred to the name of our company.
Members of the appraisal and distribution commissions received compensation from the state budget. As it turned out they also received compensation from CDR for and on behalf of Solidere. When the court of accounts discovered the CDR payments, which were not authorized in its budget, it ordered CDR to recover the amount of nearly LL5 billion from Solidere. So CDR brought action against Solidere in 1999 naming names and amounts. The action was brought in the court of a judge who was one of the recipients. He eventually recused himself. The action remains pending to this day.
The assumption by the government of the power to order changes in the records of the Real Estate Registry has not, however, been confined to Solidere. On August 22, 2007, it issued Decree No. 655 changing the name of the owner on 71 real estate lots in Beirut from 'Trustees of the American University of Beirut' to 'American University of Beirut' (AUB) based on the petition by the university. The trustees themselves did not join in the petition. A trust is an independent legal entity. The university is a New York corporation with head office in New York and no registration in Lebanon. Both the trust and AUB are foreign and subject to statutory restrictions on the ownership by non-Lebanese of real estate in Lebanon. No transfer fees were assessed or paid based on the value of the property as required by law.
Both in the case of Solidere and of AUB there is a drastic violation of the strict and formal procedures established by the statutes on real estate and on foreign ownership.
Another case of indirect taking of property without compensation involved the Mohammad Al-Amine Society. Organized in 1950 but officially registered in 1965, this association was collecting donations that it used to buy properties for the construction of a mosque on Martyrs Square in the City. By the 1990s it had managed to assemble a large tract of prime real estate with an area of 1559 square with a value of over $10 million, and was looking to finance the construction itself.
The association had bad relations with Solidere and many of its members were among the opposition to the company. On August 20, 2002, Presidential Decree No. 8572 was issued under the signatures of President Lahoud, Prime Minister Hariri and Minister of the Interior Elias al-Murr, dissolving the association. Based on this decree, the ownership of the real estate was administratively transferred to the Islamic Awqaf Department that reports to the office of the prime minister, a de facto expropriation.
Subsequently, Hariri built a big mosque on this property which was joined to an adjacent property purchased from Solidere, and donated to the project, by the Saudi Prince Al-Walid Bin Talal. When Hariri was assassinated his body was laid to rest in a spacious tomb adjacent to the new mosque.
The Serial Violation of Article 49 LC
The one article of the constitution that stirred the most controversy (and was eventually to constitute part of the raison d'e? of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1559) is Article 49 which forbids the election to the office of president of the republic any person who is not entitled to run for parliament, and forbids the re-election of the incumbent president for another term. The violations or attempted violations of this one constitutional article could be described in lengthy volumes. For the purposes hereof they could be summarized, starting from Independence Day, as follows:
A. President Beshara al-Khouri, one of the heroes of independence who were detained by the French, arranged for an exceptional constitutional amendment of Article 49 permitting him to run for, and win, a second term. The parliament that complied was the one elected in May 1947, in a general election widely seen to have been openly rigged. The elections were called less than six months after the final departure of the French and British soldiers from Lebanon on December 31, 1946. Khouri served only two years of his second term then resigned under local and international pressure.
B. Khouri was succeeded by President Camille Shamoun, who was one of the vocal critics of the Khouri constitutional amendment. Soon Shamoun developed aspirations for a second term, which, coupled with his foreign policy, stirred popular resentment leading to a rebellion. All went well after the landing of the American marines in the summer of 1958 and a new president, General Fouad Shehab,won the office notwithstanding Article 49 which bans military officers from running for parliament unless they have resigned six months prior to being elected.
C. The leaders of the rebellion against the Shamoun presidency were all indicted by a senior justice investigating judge on 21 different offences. The judge almost literally 'threw the book' at them. The defendants' names were prominent in any Lebanese or even international who's who directory and included former prime ministers, speakers of parliament, ministers and MPs. Following Shehab's election, a general amnesty law was adopted by parliament on December 24, 1958, which wiped the slate clean without further process.
D. The succession of Helou was contested between Elias Sarkis, a high-level civil servant who had not resigned six months in advance, and MP Suleiman Franjieh and was won by Franjieh by one vote. Franjieh had earlier been prosecuted for alleged involvement in a Maronite church massacre at Meziarah, North Lebanon, in 1957 but became a beneficiary of the 1958 amnesty.
E. Elias Sarkis, who had become governor of the Central Bank, was elected by the 1972 parliament to succeed Franjieh without having resigned his office six months earlier as required.
F. The 1972 parliament elected Bashir Gemayel, a militia commander openly allied with Israel, to succeed Sarkis, but he was soon assassinated and succeeded by his brother Amine. Amine's term of office expired in September 1988 without the election of a new president. Just before his term expired he appointed a caretaker cabinet headed by the army commander General Michel Aoun.
G. The 1972 parliament met in November 1989, and elected a new president, Rene Muawad, who was assassinated on Independence Day of that year. The 1972 parliament then met and elected Elias Hrawi to succeed him. Hrawi's term was to expire on November 24, 1995. On October 19, 1995, Article 49 LC was amended for the exceptional extension of Hrawi's term of office for three more years.
H. The name of the army commander, General Emile Lahoud, was put forward to succeed Hrawi. In the meantime, an additional requirement had been added to Article 49 LC in 1990 precluding high civil servants and judges, which would
include high army officers such as Lahoud, from being considered for election to the office of president unless their
service shall have actually ended two years earlier. Hence Article 49 LC was amended to permit a one time exception to both requirements.
I. Article 49 was amended on September 3, 2004, to extend Lahoud's term of office for three years in exactly the same way Hrawi's term was extended, and the amendment was published in the Official Gazette on the following day.
J. In December 2007, the name of the current army commander, General Michel Suleiman, was advanced as a consensus candidate with wide local and international support. At that time the amendment of Article 49 to remove the two pre-conditions posed no problem. On May 25, 2008, the parliament met and 118 out of 127 MPs voted to elect Suleiman to the office of president without any constitutional amendment, but six MPs turned in blank ballots and one vote went to each of two former MPs. This event was met with the enthusiastic support of the United States and other world powers.

Alhayat - Nicolas Michel & Special Tribunal for Lebanon, July 26, 2008

ميشال: الأموال كافية للمحكمة الدولية ونعمل لانهاء الافلات من العقاب في لبنان
<>نيويورك - راغدة درغام الحياة - 26/07/08//
. وقال إن «كل عناصر» تشغيل المحكمة «في مكانها»، وان «العملية مستمرة» ولن تتأثر سلباً بالتطورات السياسية الأخيرة في لبنان. واكد «ان المحكمة سيتم انشاؤها. ونحن عملنا على انهاء الافلات من العقاب لمساعدة المجتمع اللبناني أجمع»، على أساس أن «انشاء المحكمة شرط من شروط السلام الدائم في البلد، بتكليف من مجلس الأمن للأمانة العامة للأمم المتحدة».وقالت الناطقة باسم الأمين العام ميشال مونتاس إن ما جاء على لسان بان كي مون في باريس مطلع الشهر عن تمويل المحكمة، وفُسر على أن الأمين العام قَصد أن عليه الانتظار لسنتين قبل تشغيل المحكمة بسبب التمويل «قد أُسيء تفسيره».واوضح ميشال أن القلق من تمويل المحاكم على اساس التبرعات هو من إمكان عدم توافر الأموال «في مستقبل لاحق». وأكد في رده على أسئلة «الحياة»، اثناء مؤتمره صحافي الأخير قبيل مغادرته المنصب أمس، أن في ما يخص المحكمة الدولية لمقاضاة الضالعين في اغتيال رئيس الحكومة السابق رفيق الحريري ورفاقه والاغتيالات ومحاولات الاغتيال الأخرى التي يثبت التحقيق ارتباطها به: «لدينا ما يكفي لتغطية نفقاتها للسنة الأولى إلى جانب تعهدات للمزيد». واضاف:»عملنا، ونحن مستمرون، في العمل بروح انهاء الافلات من العقاب كشرط ضروري لإنشاء مجتمع مستقر (في لبنان)... وهذه الجرائم غير مقبولة ويجب إيقافها، وهذا هو الهدف الرئيسي للمحكمة».وقال إن التطورات الأخيرة في لبنان وحوله لم تشمل «أي كلام حول مسيرة الاجراءات هنا بمعنى تعديلها بهدف مرافقة التطورات».وأكد ميشال أن صلاحية بدء تشغيل المحكمة هي «صلاحية الأمين العام وحده ليقرر، وليس مجلس الأمن»، بالتشاور مع الحكومة اللبنانية فقط، «فالقرار هذا عائد الى الأمين العام وليس الى مجلس الأمن».

Assafir - Jamil Sayyed, July 26, 2008

السيد يتحدث عن ضغوط يتعرض لها المحققون العدليون
طلب اللواء الركن جميل السيد من رئيس مجلس القضاء الاعلى القاضي انطوان خير ان يوفد اليه احد قضاة هيئة التفتيش ليطلعه على معلومات مؤكدة حول ما يتعرض له بعض المحققين العدليين من ضغوط. فقد صدر عن المكتب الاعلامي للواء السيد بيان جاء فيه: »تعليقا على المعلومات التي تداولتها الصحف مؤخرا حول ان التشكيلات القضائية ستكون جاهزة خلال اليومين المقبلين، لفت اللواء الركن جميل السيد نظر رئيس واعضاء مجلس القضاء الاعلى الى انه من غير الجائز في هذه المرحلة اسناد اي وظيفة في التشكيلات المقبلة الى بعض المحققين العدليين الذين يتولون التحقيق في قضايا حساسة وضخمة، كقضية اغتيال الرئيس الشهيد رفيق الحريري وغيرها، كون ذلك سيؤدي اما الى انشغالهم عن ملف التحقيق او الى عدم قدرتهم على القيـام بأعباء وظائفهم الجديدة. وأضاف اللواء السيد انه بالنظر الى الطبيعة السياسية لملفات التحقيق الهامة، فإنه يخشى ان يتعرض المحقق العدلي لضغوط او اغراءات للحصول على منصب قضائي رفيع، ما يجعله عرضــة للابتزاز السياسي، وفي هذا المجال بالذات طلب اللواء الركن السيد من رئيس المجلس الاعلى للقضــاء القــاضي انــطوان خير ان يوفــد اليــه احد قضــاة هيئة التفتــيش للاطــلاع منه على معلومات مؤكدة حول ما يتعرض له بعـض المحققين العدليين في هذا المجال من قبل مراجع معينة.

Almustaqbal - About the 4 generals, July 25, 2008

حملة لإطلاق الضباط الأربعة قبيل انطلاق المحكمة الدولية
المستقبل - الجمعة 25 تموز 2008 - العدد 3028 - مخافر و محاكم - صفحة 10

عمر حرقوص
يتوقع مراقبون قانونيون متابعون لتطورات التحقيق في ملف اغتيال الرئيس الشهيد رفيق الحريري أن تمر هذه القضية بمخاض صعب وحاسم في الأشهر الأربعة المقبلة، والمرتقب أن تكون مرحلة انتقالية ما بين انتهاء التحقيق الدولي ومعه التحقيق اللبناني وبدء عمل المحكمة الدولية في لاهاي لمحاكمة من يقدمهم المدعي العام الدولي دانيال بلمار كمتهمين في هذه الجريمة، والمتوقع أن تنطلق مطلع السنة المقبلة وعلى أبعد تقدير في الفصل الأول منها.وفي اعتقاد المراقبين القانونيين فإن الأشهر المقبلة خصوصاً أيلول والتشرينين ستشهد حملة قد تكون الأعنف والأشمل بهدف إطلاق سراح الضباط الأربعة جميل السيد وعلي الحاج ومصطفى حمدان وريمون عازار ليكون هؤلاء أحراراً قبل انطلاقة المحكمة، باعتبار أن رواد هذه الحملة يدركون تماماً أن رفع وتيرة الضغط على القضاء اللبناني تبقى حظوظه أكثر نجاحاً من ممارسة مثل هذه الوسائل مع المحكمة الدولية يقيناً منهم أن الأخيرة لا تنفع معها وسائل الترغيب والترهيب مهما عظمت، لأنها محصنة بقضاة لم يعرف تاريخهم هكذا أساليب اعتاد على ممارستها مجرمون ظنوا أن عدالة الأرض لن تعرف طريقها إليهم.ولعل إنذار القانونيين المبكر حيال الحملات المنتظرة لم يأت من تحليلات أو توقعات، بل يستند الى معطيات ومؤشرات ناجمة عن تراكم مواقف قوى المعارضة الرافضة للمحمكة الدولية التي تسيس سلفاً عملها والأحكام التي ستصدر عنها. ويذكّر هؤلاء القانونيون بأن الأزمة التي فجرتها المعارضة على مدى السنتين المنصرمتين مردها الى رفض المحكمة الدولية وقانونها الخاص، وليس المشاركة كما كان يدعي البعض.وأكدوا "أن مطلب الثلث "الضامن" في حكومة الوحدة الوطنية التي طالبوا بتأليفها في بداية الأزمة كان هدفها ضمان تعطيل هذه المحكمة وإفشال إبرام اتفاقيتها مع الأمم المتحدة"، وسأل هؤلاء "أين أصبحت الملاحظات التي أبداها "حزب الله" على نظام المحكمة وأبقاها طي الكتمان، وتعهد بنشرها إذا ما أقرت تحت الفصل السابع"؟وبرأي القانونيين أن الضغوط التي بدأت تمارس على القضاء اللبناني من قوى نافذة ولها سطوتها الواسعة بهدف الاسراع في إطلاق سراح الضباط الأربعة، لا توازي شيئاً من المصاعب التي تنتظر الحكومة الجديدة في هذا الشأن، بعد أن نال رافضو المحكمة الدولية الثلث المعطل داخل الحكومة، وبات لهم تأثير قوي على قراراتها المتصلة بالتعاون مع الأمم المتحدة بشأن المحكمة، خصوصاً إذا ما تذرع الفريق المعادي للمحكمة بـ"القرارات السيادية".ويعتبر المراقبون "أن ملف المحمكة الدولية سيكون الاستحقاق الأصعب الذي يواجه حكومة العهد الأولى إذ ليس صحيحاً أن المحكمة باتت خارج التأثير اللبناني. فثمة أمور أساسية ينبغي على الحكومة تقديم المساعدة فيها مثل التمويل، ونقل الموقوفين من عهدة القضاء اللبناني الى مكان التوقيف لدى المحكمة والمساعدة في تعقب أي مشتبه به على الأراضي اللبنانية وسوقه الى مقر المحكمة وكذلك نقل الشهود، وهذه أمور ستكون موضع خلافات قد تعصف داخل مجلس الوزراء وتلقى رفضاً مطلقاً من وزراء الثلث المعطل، خصوصاً إذا تعلق الأمر بنقل الضباط الأربعة وباقي الموقوفين إذا ما طلب المدعي العام الدولي ذلك، وهذا ما يثير مخاوف من تفجر الحكومة وربما استقالتها والعودة الى منطق الفوضى المسلحة وكل ذلك قد يحصل تحت شعار "الدفاع عن السيادة اللبنانية"، ولم ينسَ اللبنانيون ما سبق وأعلنه الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله قبل سنة عندما حمل بعنف على المحكمة الدولية ووصفها بـ"الهيئة السياسية" التي ستركب لإصدار أحكام جاهزة، وهو السبّاق أيضاً الى تسميته الضباط الأربعة بالمعتقلين السياسيين".هذا السيناريو المستند الى مواجهة داخلية لإسقاط المحكمة وإظهار لبنان كبلد غير متعاون مع العدالة الدولية وما يرتب عليه من تبعات، يترافق مع سيناريو آخر يروّجه "أعداء" المحكمة الدولية. ويخفف مروجو النظرية الأخيرة من الخوف الذي يمتلك البعض من انطلاقة المحكمة، لأن السيناريو يقول ان المنطقة مقبلة على واحد من احتمالين: إما حرب أميركية اسرائيلية ضد ايران تولد جحيماً يحرق المنطقة ومعه المحكمة التي لن تبقى ذات جدوى، وإما التوصل الى صفقة أميركية إيرانية، واتفاقية سلام سورية اسرائيلية وتكون المحكمة أحد بنود هذه الصفقة.من هنا يشدد القانونيون على أهمية أخذ كل هذه الاحتمالات على محمل الجد، ويدعون المدافعين عن المحكمة والمؤيدين للعدالة الدولية الى عدم الاستسلام للحروب السياسية والنفسية وحتى العسكرية التي قد يخوضها الفريق الآخر، باعتبار ان المحكمة ورغم الأخطار التي تحدق بها تبقى ملاذ غالبية اللبنانيين الذين يتشوقون ليوم يوضع فيه حد لجرائم الاغتيال السياسي التي طالت خيرة قياداتهم وفي مقدمهم الرئيس الشهيد رفيق الحريري.

Almustaqbal - Mirza and Bellemare meeting, July 25, 2008

ميرزا يبحث مع بيلمارتطور التحقيق بجرائم الاغتيال
المستقبل - الجمعة 25 تموز 2008 - العدد 3028 - مخافر و محاكم - صفحة 10

التقى النائب العام التمييزي القاضي سعيد ميرزا في مكتبه أمس، رئيس لجنة التحقيق الدولية في جريمة اغتيال الرئيس الشهيد رفيق الحريري ورفاقه القاضي الكندي دنيال بيلمار، في حضور المحامية العامة التمييزية القاضية جوسلين تابت.وذكرت مصادر مطلعة ان المجتمعين أجروا تقييماً للتحقيقات العدلية التي يجريها القضاء اللبناني وتطورها في جرائم الاغتيال ومحاولة الاغتيال التي وقعت قبيل وبعيد اغتيال الرئيس الحريري، وتلك التي يجريها المحققون الدوليون في إطار تقديم المساعدة للقضاء اللبناني بهذا الخصوص.

Almustaqbal - Najjar and Special Tribunal for Lebanon, July 24, 2008

"المحكمة الدولية خرجت كلياً من نطاق التداول"
نجار: تحريك السلاح يجب أن يكون في يد السلطة وزيارة سليمان لدمشق ستؤدي للإفراج عن معتقلين
المستقبل - الخميس 24 تموز 2008 - العدد 3027 - شؤون لبنانية - صفحة 6

أكد وزير العدل ابراهيم نجار "ان المسار الذي دخلته المحكمة الدولية خرج كلياً عن نطاق التداول لأنها قضية تعني كل اللبنانيين وتتصل بعمق الحريات الديموقراطية والسعي لانجاز الاستقلال والسيادة". ورأى" ان قيام علاقات ديبلوماسية بين لبنان وسوريا سيؤدي إلى إعادة النظر بـ"المجلس الأعلى" والاتفاقيات المبرمة بين البلدين من خلال التفاوض".وقال نجار في حديثه مساء أمس لبرنامج الاستحقاق من اخبارية "المستقبل" "ان مجرد دخولي الحكومة لتمثيل القوات اللبنانية هو عمل سياسي ناتج عن التزامي الوجداني بالقضية اللبنانية بعد 14 اذار 2005. أنا رجل مؤمن ووفيّ ولا أتنكر لماضيّ السياسي فـ"القوات" بنت حزب الكتائب وأنا من خلال تمثيلي "القوات" أمثل قضية الاستقلال والسيادة والكرامة خصوصاً بعد استشهاد الرئيس الحريري أصبح المسار واحداً".ورداً على سؤال حول البيان الوزاري للحكومة قال: "من الواضح ان البيان الوزاري الذي نالت على أساسه الثقة الحكومة السابقة يشكل مطلباً لقوى 8 آذار لجهة الاعتراف بحق المقاومة الاحتفاظ بسلاحها خارج اطار قرار الدولة المركزية، اما وجهة النظر الثانية فترى أن بيان الحكومة السابقة تلته احداث حرب تموز و"اتفاق الدوحة" وحكومة جديدة وطرحت وجهة نظر تقول بأن البيان يجب أن يتضمن ما اجمع عليه اللبنانيون مع الطائف والدوحة والقرار 1701 وخطاب القسم. وفي هذه النصوص لا وجود لحق المقاومة الاحتفاظ بسلاحها"، مشيراً الى ان "اتفاق الدوحة يحصر السلطة العسكرية بيد الدولة لضمان صيغة العيش المشترك"، ولافتاً الى ان "خطاب القسم تضمن "الاستفادة من طاقات المقاومة"، وعليه فإن النظرة اختلفت الى سلاح المقاومة عما كانت عليه قبل العام 2005". أضاف:" أنا لا أبرر وجود السلاح لكن أرى انه مبرراً للدفاع عن لبنان اذا كان مهدداً. اما ان يكون قرار الحرب خارج اطار الدولة فهذا موضوع صعب ودقيق جداً. تحديد غاية السلاح باتفاق اللبنانيين، لكن موضوع قرار تحريك السلاح يجب ان يكون في يد السلطة المركزية". ورداً على سؤال عن المعتقلين في السجون السورية وكلام الوزير وليد المعلم في بعبدا، قال: "طريقة الكلام فيها تسرع في التعبير، لكن التفاوض بين الرئيسين الأسد وسليمان يمكن أن يؤدي الى الافراج عن عدد من المسجونين اللبنانيين في سوريا".وعن ربط العلاقات اللبنانية ـ السورية بالمعاهدة بين البلدين قال: "ان قيام علاقات ديبلوماسية بين لبنان وسوريا سيؤدي إلى إعادة النظر بالمجلس الأعلى والاتفاقيات المبرمة بين البلدين من خلال التفاوض".وعن إمكان القيام بانتخابات في وجود السلاح قال: "حسب اتفاق الدوحة تم وضع أسس واضحة خلاصتها الحؤول دون استعمال السلاح في الداخل. وإذا طبقنا الاتفاق يجب ألا يكون السلاح عند عتبة الاقتراع. مطلوب وضع حد نهائي للسلاح في المناطق وعلى الفرقاء رفع الغطاء السياسي عن كل المسلحين"، موضحا "هناك مرحلتان جمع السلاح خارج اطار "حزب الله" ثم معالجة سلاح "الحزب" في ظل استراتيجية دفاعية وتفاهم لبناني ـ لبناني".عن قانون الانتخاب وعدم رضاه على النسبية قال "لن تتقرر النسبية في لبنان لأنها الطريق الأقرب لايصال الاقليات التي لا تمثل حيثية انتخابية في البلاد، وأنا مع النظام الأكثري لأنه النظام الديموقراطي الذي يعطي الأرجحية ضمن القضاء". وعن المحكمة الدولية قال الوزير نجار: "فوجئت بتصريح الامين العام للامم المتحدة بان كي مون في باريس لجهة تأمين الأموال للمحكمة لسنتين لاحقتين لاعتقادي انه حتى آخر هذا العام ستقلع المحكمة، لكن المسار الذي دخلته المحكمة خرج كلياً عن نطاق التداول فقضية المحكمة تعني كل اللبنانيين وتتصل بعمق الحريات الديموقراطية والسعي لانجاز الاستقلال والسيادة، هذا الموضوع مقرر وسأسعى لتكون المحكمة منزّهة عن أي استغلال سياسي".

Al Hayat - Brammertz va poursuivre Karadzic. Mais qui Bellemare poursuivra-t-il?, 23 Juillet 2008

Al Hayat - Brammertz Will Prosecute Karadzic. But Whom Will Bellemare Prosecute?, July 23, 2008

By Randa Takieddine

The arrest of the former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is extremely important because it gives a beam of hope to the peoples of the world that, no matter how long it takes, there is something called international justice. Karadzic is accused of ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity, which killed more than 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995. Remarkably, the international prosecutor who will lead the case in The Hague is Serge Brammertz, who for six months headed an international investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. Brammertz resigned from his post to take over from Carla Del Ponte in The Hague.
It is an encouraging coincidence. It revives hope for the Lebanese that the perpetrators of crimes against politicians, journalists and military personnel will be revealed and eventually tried, even if the investigation drags on a while.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Yugoslavia fell apart and its six republics declared their independence in 1991. Karadzic and Slobodan Milosevic tried to join Croatia and Bosnia to Serbia; Karadzic, helped by Ratko Mladic, carried out the ethnic cleansing of Muslims from Bosnia.
Karadzic is called the "Osama bin Laden of Europe." His arrest prompts us to hope that the crimes that have been committed in Lebanon since the assassination of Hariri, and even prior to this, might one day see the arrest of the network that carried them out. Prior to the assassination of Hariri, his comrades and Minister Basil Fleihan, there were the killings of leaders and presidents in Lebanon, which were not addressed, even though many are convinced that the same network that killed Hariri and his comrades had equally assassinated Kamal Jumblatt, Rene Mouawad, and Bashir Gemayel. It is true that these did not take place during the same period, but the network that undertook the previous assassinations, which did not spare leading journalists like Salim al-Lawzi, used various methods during the course of political developments in Lebanon.
The assassination of Hariri and Fleihan and the subsequent crimes against journalists Gebran Tueni and Samir Kassir, and politicians Pierre Gemayel, Walid Eido and his son, George Hawi, Antoine Ghanem, and General Francois Hajj, and the attempts against May Chidiac, Marwan Hamade and Elias Murr, are crimes that fall into the framework of a spate of killings intended to keep Lebanon in the terror camp.
With the arrest of Karadzic, we hope that the head of the international investigation into the killing of Hariri and his comrades, Canada's Daniel Bellemare, will speed up the completion of his investigation to create an international tribunal by the end of 2009. Despite all of the political developments in France and the US and the two countries' openness to Syria and Iran, hope remains that Bellemare is keen to remain distant from politics and conduct his investigation in a professional fashion. He is a retired judge who, unlike his predecessor Brammertz, does not seek a post other than that of international public prosecutor when he finishes his investigation. In the view of some, including his predecessor Judge Detlev Mehlis, Brammertz was secretive. However, he acted like a historian of the crime, and not an investigator. As for Bellemare, he is leading a professional investigation and is not talking about it with anyone. He meets with officials from the United Nations Security Council but does not reveal any information about the investigation.
Bellemare requires testimony and evidence that should be protected, so that his investigation can yield results. International justice takes time, since it is a serious effort. No matter how long it takes, the punishment of the criminals, in the end, will resemble the fall of the Berlin Wall, especially in the Middle East. The UN resolution creating an international tribunal for the Hariri assassination is not just words. Whoever believes that developments in the region will abolish this tribunal can refer to what happened to Karadzic, 13 years after the search for him began. Perhaps this arrest represents hope, for those who have been disappointed due to French and American policy developments in the region, even though the Middle East's Berlin Wall has yet to come down.

Assafir - Jumblatt about the STL, July 22, 2008

جنبلاط يحذر من رفض قرار المحكمة الجنائية: قد يمهد أيضا لرفض المحكمة الخاصـة بلبنان
استغرب رئيس »اللقاء الديموقراطي« النائب وليد جنبلاط، في موقفه الأسبوعي لجريدة »الأنباء«، »الاندفاع من الدولة اللبنانية مع بعض الجامعة العربية للاعتراض على قرار المحكمة الجنائية الدولية التي نجحت في أماكن مثل صربيا ولم تنجح في أماكن أخرى. وسأل »لماذا تمهيد الدولة لهذا الرفض وكأنه يمهد أيضا لرفض المحكمة الدولية الخاصة بلبنان؟«. قال جنبلاط في مقالته: »مرة جديدة يقدم خادم الحرمين الشريفين الملك عبد الله بن عبد العزيز مبادرة هامة تستحق كل اهتمام وهي الحوار بين الأديان الذي إستضافته مدريد والذي سلط الضوء بكل جرأة على جملة من القضايا الهامة التي لطالما كانت موضع نقاش وجدال. ولقد سجلت هذه المبادرة، الأولى من نوعها، خطوات هامة على مستوى إطلاق الحوار بعد أن كان مقطوعا، وأسقطت محظورات سابقة لم يكن الاقتراب منها ممكنا. إن مبادرات سياسية شجاعة كهذه تؤسس لفهم متبادل بين الأديان وتفتح المجال أمام إعادة النظر بموروثات قديمة حول الآخر وحياته ودوره. إن توصيات المؤتمر العالمي لحوار الاديان ترتدي أهمية استثنائية لناحية رفض حتمية الصراع بين الاديان والحضارات والتأكيد على التنوع الثقافي والحضاري وضرورة احترامه بالاضافة طبعا إلى التأكيد على المساواة بين أبناء البشرية جمعاء ورفض التمييز العنصري والعرقي والسياسي أو أي شكل من أشكال التمييز. لا بد من البناء على هذه المرتكزات للانطلاق نحو مرحلة جديدة من التفاهمات التي تحترم الانسان بالدرجة الأولى. في مجال آخر وهو متصل بقرار المحكمة الجنائية الدولية حول ملف دارفور والاتهام بجرائم الحرب، وبمعزل عن صحة هذا القرار أم عدم صحته، فلماذا هذا الاندفاع من الدولة اللبنانية مع بعض الجامعة العربية للاعتراض على قرار المحكمة التي نجحت في أماكن مثل صربيا ولم تنجح في أماكن أخرى؟ لماذا الاستعجال في رفض ما يمكن وصفه بأنه بداية تطبيق للقانون الدولي، ولماذا تمهيد الدولة لهذا الرفض وكأنه يمهد أيضا لرفض المحكمة الدولية الخاصة بلبنان والتي سنبقى نصر على رفضنا لاخضاعها لأي شكل من أشكال الصفقات والمتاجرة. فهل هي مجرد مصادفة أم غفلة وقعت فيها الدولة اللبنانية؟ إن أي طعن بالعدالة الدولية الناشئة تداعياتها خطيرة على كل المستويات. ولماذا الإيحاء من قريب أو بعيد بأن رفض القانون الدولي في قضية دارفور سيعني لاحقا التملص بشكل أو بآخر من إتمام التحقيق القضائي في قضية إغتيال الرئيس الشهيد رفيق الحريري وكل الاغتيالات السياسية اللاحقة في بيروت التي نالت من خيرة القيادات السياسية والاعلامية والفكرية. فهل يجوز تبرير القتل والاغتيال السياسي وإعادة فتح الباب أمام هذا النوع من الاجرام في لبنان؟ إن أية محاولات لاخضاع المحكمة الدولية الخاصة بلبنان لأية مساومات أو تسويات أو صفقات أو متاجرات على حساب العدالة والحقيقة سيشكل انتكاسة كبرى لكل مفاهيم القانون الدولي، وسيؤسس لاسقاط منطق المحاسبة على الاجرام وسيبيح منطق الثأر والانتقام والرجعية والتخلف بدلا من تكريس منطق العدل والمحاسبة والمساءلة. أما بالنسبة للسمفونيات المعسولة حول التبادل الدبلوماسي وترسيم الحدود التي لا ينفك وليد المعلم عن تكرارها، فهي تنتظر التطبيق الفعلي والا تبقى وعودا مطاطة لا نفع منها وتتماشى مع أسلوب البازارات التجارية في سوق الحميدية التي كلفت لبنان الأثمان الباهظة من بينها الدماء الغالية التي قدمها الشهداء، وغني عن القول إن أمام ضريبة الدم لا مساومة. فالحد الأدنى المقبول هو إلغاء المجلس الأعلى اللبناني ـ السوري وإلغاء الاتفاقيات المجحفة بحق لبنان والتي تتطلب إعادة نظر جذرية«. وكان جنبلاط زار رئيس الهيئة الروحية للطائفة الدرزية الشيخ ابو محمد جواد ولي الدين في منزله في بعقلين.

L'Orient le jour - Joumblatt about the STL, July 22, 2008

L'Orient le jour - Les « symphonies mielleuses » de Moallem doivent être traduites dans les actes, souligne le chef du PSP, 22 Juillet 2008

Joumblatt : Au minimum, il faut abolir le Conseil supérieur libano-syrien
Le chef du PSP, Walid Joumblatt, a réclamé hier l’abolition du Conseil supérieur libano-syrien et l’abrogation des accords « injustes » conclus entre les deux pays à l’époque de la tutelle syrienne.M. Joumblatt s’exprimait dans le cadre de son intervention hebdomadaire à l’organe de son parti, al-Anba’.« Au sujet des symphonies mielleuses que l’on entend à propos de l’échange de représentations diplomatiques et du tracé des frontières, et que Walid Moallem (le ministre syrien des Affaires étrangères) ne cesse de répéter, elles attendent en fait d’être traduites en actes », écrit M. Joumblatt.« Tant qu’elles ne le seront pas, elles resteront des promesses élastiques conformes à la méthode des bazars de Souk el-Hamidiyé (à Damas) qui ont tant coûté au Liban, notamment en martyrs », ajoute-t-il.« Il est inutile de répéter que face à l’impôt du sang, il n’y aura pas de compromission. C’est pourquoi le minimum demandé est d’abolir le Conseil supérieur libano-syrien ainsi que les accords injustes pour le Liban, qu’il faut réexaminer de manière radicale », souligne-t-il. Par ailleurs, M. Joumblatt critique l’opposition du Liban, au même titre que d’autres États arabes, à la récente recommandation du procureur général de la Cour pénale internationale d’émettre un mandat d’arrêt à l’encontre du président soudanais, Omar el-Bachir, accusé de génocide et de crimes contre l’humanité dans la province du Darfour.« Que cette décision soit juste ou pas, pourquoi cet empressement de l’État libanais de s’opposer à une décision de la CPI ? » s’interroge-t-il.« Pourquoi se hâte-t-on de rejeter ce qui pourrait être un début d’application du droit international ? » demande-t-il, soulignant qu’un tel rejet laisse penser qu’il y aura aussi un rejet du tribunal spécial pour le Liban. « Nous continuerons de refuser que ce tribunal soit soumis au moindre bazar ou à une transaction quelconque », dit-il.« Y a-t-il donc une coïncidence ou bien s’agit-il d’une négligence de la part de l’État libanais ? Toute attaque contre la justice internationale naissante aura des répercussions graves sur tous les plans », prévient le chef du PSP.« Rejeter le droit international au Darfour induit qu’on cherchera ultérieurement à faire en sorte d’une façon ou d’une autre que l’enquête sur l’assassinat de Rafic Hariri et tous les autres meurtres commis au Liban n’aille pas jusqu’au bout », estime-t-il.« Toute tentative de soumettre le tribunal international pour le Liban à de quelconques compromis, arrangements ou bazars au détriment de la justice et de la vérité constituerait une atteinte terrible à tous les critères du droit international et laisserait la porte ouverte à la logique de la vendetta et de l’arriération », souligne-t-il encore. Le procureur de la CPI, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, avait réclamé le 14 juillet aux juges de la CPI d’émettre un mandat d’arrêt contre M. Béchir qu’il a accusé de génocide, crimes de guerre et crimes contre l’humanité au Darfour, une province de l’ouest du Soudan en guerre civile depuis 2003. Ces accusations ont été rejetées par Khartoum.Il s’agit de la première demande d’arrestation d’un chef d’État en exercice devant la CPI, seul tribunal permanent compétent pour juger les auteurs de crimes de guerre, de crimes contre l’humanité et de génocide.

Aliwaa - Ministry of Justice & Special Tribunal for Lebanon, July 21, 2008

نجار: لا خطر على المحكمةلكن التنفيذ ليس بالسرعة المرجوة أكد وزير العدل ابراهيم نجار ان المحكمة الدولية انطلقت، وليست في خطر، وهي ليست محل مقايضة، وأن لا صفقة ولا التفاف ولا تنازل عن المحكمة·
وأكد في حديث الى اذاعة صوت لبنان وجود اجواء ايجابية على صعيد بت البيان الوزاري، مشيراً الى ان لجنة الصياغة تعمل على بيان توافقي يتم فيه تفادي بعض الالتباسات التي وردت في البيان الوزاري السابق، ورأى ان رئيس الحكومة فؤاد السنيورة يحاول ضمن لجنة صياغة البيان الوزاري الوصول الى الطريقة الفضلى لتلافي حصول خلاف، وحتى الآن أجد جواً ايجابياً يمكن ان يعطي الحكومة رصيداً لتتقدم الى الأمام·
وعن إمكان ادراج الاستراتيجية الدفاعية ضمن البيان، رأى انه "من الأفضل ترك هذا الموضوع المركزي للجنة الصياغة حتى لا نفوّت عليها فرصة التوصل الى صياغة مرضية تمهّد للسلم الحقيقي في لبنان"· ودعا لأن يكون للبنان "سياسة خارجية سبّاقة ومميزة في الشرق الاوسط يحدد من خلالها مصالحه من خلال المقاربات الجارية في المنطقة باتجاه السلام"·
وفي موضوع المحكمة الدولية، جزم ان هذه المحكمة "ليست في خطر وهي ليست محلّ مقايضة" لكنه سجّل ملاحظات حول سرعة التنفيذ·
وقال: "المحكمة الدولية انطلقت ولها مسار معيّن بين الدولة اللبنانية والأمم المتحدة، وهي ليست متوقفة على عمل الوزير، لا أعتقد اطلاقاً انها بخطر ولكن سرعة التنفيذ ليست بالمسار الذي كنت أنتظره لأسباب أجهلها"·
أضاف: "ما هو أكيد ان لا صفقة ولا إلتفاف ولا تنازل عن المحكمة ومسار المحكمة يجب ان يُكمل طريقه"، مشدداً على "وجوب عدم تسييس المحكمة واطلاق التهم جزافاً هنا وهناك"·
وفي موضوع القضاء، شدد على "ضرورة احترام الجسم القضائي ليكون لديه المناعة الكافية للقيام بثورته التي تعيد القضاء الى طريقه"، وفي هذا الاطار حمّل وزير العدل الاعلام اللبناني مسؤولية مراعاة قدسيّة مهام القضاء، مطالباً بايجاد تلازم بين حرية الاعلام واستقلال القضاء·

Daily Star - Najjar - Le Tribunal Hariri n'est pas lie au Ministere de la Justice, 21 juillet 2008

Daily Star - Najjar: Hariri tribunal not linked to Justice Ministry, July 21, 2008
Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar said Sunday the International Tribunal to try suspects in the February 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri had begun its work, and was "not dependent on the work or identity of the justice minister." He added that the work of the tribunal "is directly linked to the Lebanese government rather than the justice minister." In an interview with the Voice of Lebanon radio station, Najjar said the court was not in danger of being frozen, "but the pace of implementation is unclear for reasons I am unaware of." Commenting on the first Cabinet meeting last week, Najjar said the atmosphere was "positive" and both President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Fouad Siniora "looked comfortable and confident about the national unity government." "The ministerial committee is working on drafting a compromise ministerial statement," he said, adding that the committee would take its time to avoid "any ambiguities encountered in previous ministerial statements." - The Daily Star

L'Orient le jour - Najjar : the Special Tribunal is not in danger, July 21, 2008

L'Orient le jour - Najjar : Le tribunal international n’est pas en danger, 21 Juillet 2008

Le ministre de la Justice, Ibrahim Najjar, a assuré que le tribunal spécial pour le Liban sur l’assassinat de l’ancien Premier ministre Rafic Hariri n’était pas « en danger » et qu’il « n’est pas question de bazar dans ce cadre ». Il a noté cependant que le tribunal prendra du temps pour être opérationnel.« Le tribunal spécial pour le Liban est sur les rails. Il dépend d’un mécanisme mis en place entre le Liban et les Nations unies. Il ne dépend pas du poste d’un ministre », a indiqué M. Najjar, martelant qu’il n’y aura pas de « bazar ou de compromission au sujet du tribunal spécial pour le Liban ». Il a souligné en conclusion l’importance de ne pas politiser cette institution.

Assafir - Jamil Sayyed, July 19, 2008

السيّد يستغرب إضراب القضاة
إستغرب اللواء الركن جميل السيّد الدعوة إلى الإضراب القضائي عن العمل »بسبب الإعتراض على الحملات التي تستهدف بعضهم، في حين أنّه ليس أهون على القاضي المفترى عليه من أن يلجأ إلى القانون ويدّعي على من أساء إليه، إلا إذا لم يعد القضاة أنفسهم مؤمنين بسلامة العدالة في لبنان وباتوا بحاجة إلى إضراب لتطبيقها، وعندها فما هي حال المواطن العادي؟«. كما استغرب السيد في بيان وزعه مكتبه الاعلامي، »موقف وزير العدل المؤيّد للإضراب وهو إجراء مخالف لقانون الموظفين ومخالف لمبدأ إستمرارية المرفق العام«، مكرّراً طلبه إلى وزير العدل، والمجلس الأعلى للقضاء، والتفتيش القضائي »بفتح تحقيق موسّع حول التجاوزات والمخالفات المقصودة التي ارتكبها مدّعي عام التمييز القاضي سعيد ميرزا والمحققون العدليون في قضية إغتيال الرئيس الشهيد رفيق الحريري، خصوصاً لجهة خرق سرّية التحقيق وقانون أصول المحاكمات الجزائية، لاسيما المادة /٧٦/ منه وأمور أخرى«. وأبدى اللواء السيد »استعداده للمثول أمام أيّة جهة قضائية لإثبات تلك التجاوزات وتورط القضاة فيها لتنفيذ الإعتقال السياسي مما أساء إلى سمعة القضاء كلّه«.

Background - خلفية

On 13 December 2005 the Government of the Lebanese Republic requested the UN to establish a tribunal of an international character to try all those who are alleged responsible for the attack of 14 february 2005 that killed the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 others. The United Nations and the Lebanese Republic consequently negotiated an agreement on the establishment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

Liens - Links - مواقع ذات صلة

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, David Schenker , March 30, 2010 . Beirut Spring: The Hariri Tribunal Goes Hunting for Hizballah

Frederic Megret, McGill University, 2008. A special tribunal for Lebanon: the UN Security Council and the emancipation of International Criminal Justice

International Center for Transitional Justice Handbook on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, April 10, 2008

United Nations
Conférence de presse de Nicolas Michel, 19 Sept 2007
Conférence de presse de Nicolas Michel, 27 Mars 2008

Département d'Etat américain
* 2009 Human Rights report
* 2008 Human Rights report
* 2007 Human Rights report
* 2006 Human Rights report
* 2005 Human Rights report

ICG - International Crisis Group
The Hariri Tribunal: Separate the Political and the Judicial, 19 July, 2007. [Fr]

HCSS - Hague Centre for strategic studies
Hariri, Homicide and the Hague

Human Rights Watch
* Hariri Tribunal can restore faith in law, 11 may 2006
* Letter to Secretary-General Kofi Annan, april 27, 2006

Amnesty International
* STL insufficient without wider action to combat impunity
* Liban : le Tribunal de tous les dangers, mai 2007
* Jeu de mecano

Courrier de l'ACAT - Wadih Al Asmar
Le Tribunal spécial pour le Liban : entre espoir et inquiétude

Georges Corm
La justice penale internationale pour le Liban : bienfait ou malediction?

Nadim Shedadi and Elizabeth Wilmshurt, Chatham House
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon : the UN on Trial?, July 2007

Issam Michael Saliba, Law Library of Congress
International Tribunals, National Crimes and the Hariri Assassination : a novel development in International Criminal Law, June 2007

Mona Yacoubian, Council on Foreign Relations
Linkages between Special UN Tribunal, Lebanon, and Syria, June 1, 2007