Alliance calls on Hizbullah to commit to Lebanese state
By Marlin Dick
BEIRUT: Politicians from the March 14 rejected on Friday a call by the leader of Hizbullah to review their past behavior, saying that the resistance should instead commit itself to the Lebanese state.
Their comments came one day after Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah declared that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon would likely indict rogue members of the party in the assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri made no public response to Nasrallah’s news conference on Thursday, in which the resistance leader said Hariri had informed him several months ago that such an indictment was on its way.
The general coordinator of March 14, former Jbeil MP Fares Soueid, said Nasrallah was “asking for a surrender, and not a self-evaluation” of the coalition’s previous stances, which involved strident accusations that Syria was behind the assassination.
“Nasrallah’s remarks were inaccurate, and rejected by the majority of Lebanese; he categorized them as ‘Israelis’ if they demand the truth, and justice, and ‘patriots’ if they do away with the logic of the truth and justice,” Soueid said in a radio interview.
“There’s one thing that can save Lebanon from domestic problems and strife, and that is for Hizbullah to return to the Lebanese state, according to the state’s conditions,” Soueid said.
Batroun MP Antoine Zahra, a Lebanese Forces official, said Nasrallah had accused March 14 of “dragging the country toward division and crisis, and [didn’t recognize] the achievement of our second independence, democracy, or development in national [political] life.”
Zahra said that “no one in Lebanon wants to target a Lebanese group, whoever it is, but this is one thing, and making accusation against the STL, based on a hypothetical situation, is another.”
Zahra said that there had “perhaps been exaggerations in certain political positions taken, but not by all March 14 groups.”
“The list of conditions being placed on March 14 leaders doesn’t a self-evaluation, but the abandonment of everything,” Zahra said, asking sarcastically “was everything ideal” during the period of Syria’s presence here.
For his part, former Tripoli MP Mustafa Alloush said that Nasrallah’s tone was “less harsh” compared to an earlier address, and stressed that any indictment by the STL should be backed by strong evidence.
“If it is a weak indictment, the Future Movement will have another position,” Alloush said.
Nasrallah blamed March 14 members for instigating sectarian tension in Lebanon in recent years, a period that included the killing of dozens of Syrian workers in Lebanon, along with the imprisonment of four senior security and military officials who were later released without being charged in the Hariri assassination.
National Liberal Party leader Dory Chamoun said he thought Nasrallah’s news conference was “inspired by” a foreign party, blaming Syria for pushing the Hizbullah leader to focus on the possibility that Damascus would be cleared in the Hariri case.
“If anyone wants compensation from Syria,” Chamoun said, “it’s the Lebanese people.”
Beirut MP Michel Pharaon, a March 14 member, said that Nasrallah’s criticism of the movement’s actions over the last five years was undeserved.
He said his colleagues in March 14 had decided to take part in National Dialogue sessions, re-establish formal ties with Syria, participate in the Doha Accord of 2008 to end civil strife, and share power in a National Unity Cabinet, as well as discuss a national defense strategy.
In a statement, Pharaoun said the issue of the STL was supported by a national consensus, and that the important thing was to remain committed to such policies, which were a part of the government’s policy statement.
Akkar MP Hadi Hobeish said Nasrallah’s latest remarks didn’t serve the interest of Hizbullah, accusing the party’s leader of “errors.” One of them, Hobeish said, was the claim that Hariri informed Nasrallah of the STL indictment’s content in May.
“This isn’t accurate at all,” Hobeish said, “because Hariri doesn’t know about the [content] of the indictment,” describing meetings between the two as tackling “ordinary matters.”
Hobeish said his rivals in the parliamentary minority were the ones who should be re-evaluating their policies of the last five years, which he noted involved a tent-city protest in downtown Beirut, and several weeks of civil strife in May 2008.
“No one is infallible,” Hobeish said, “but portraying the situation as if March 14 groups are wrong, while March 8 groups are saints,” is inaccurate, and covers up the reality, and the flagrant errors” that were made.
As for the parliamentary minority camp, Health Minister Mohammad Jawad Khalifeh, an Amal Movement official, defended Nasrallah’s remarks and predicted that they would be a “prelude to a period of stability,” and not tension.
Marada leader Suleiman Franjieh told a television interview on Hizbullah’s Manar television that the STL was less an international tribunal than an expression of international political “will,” and said that a campaign was afoot to corner Hizbullah, after an earlier failure during the July 2006 war. Franjieh said it was unreasonable to expect Hizbullah to stand by without defending itself.
Former Prime Minister Salim Hoss, meanwhile, called on the STL to “re-evaluate” its impending decision, if the current speculation about the upcoming indictment turned out to be true.
Alliance calls on Hizbullah to commit to Lebanese state
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.
Chronology - Chronologie
Détenus - Detainees - المعتقلون
International Criminal Justice
Videos - فيديو
- Now Lebanon : Crowds Gather to Show Support for International Tribunal, August 4, 2010
- IRIS Institute:La creation du TSL est-elle justifiee? - June 18, 2009
- Al Manar : Interview with Ali Hajj right after his release - April 30, 2009
- Al Manar: Summary of Jamil Al Sayyed's press conference, April 30, 2009
- AFP, Freed Lebanese prisoner speaks out - April 30, 2009
- OTV : exclusive interview with Jamil Sayyed - April 30, 2009
- Al Jazeeera English : Crowds celebrate Hariri suspects'release - April 29, 2009
- OTV : report about Ali el Hajj - March 18, 2009
Liens - Links - مواقع ذات صلة
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
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
* 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
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