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...


August 12, 2010 - Daily Star - STL asks Hizbullah to share information, footage

By Patrick Galey
Daily Star staff

BEIRUT: The UN probe into who killed former Premier Rafik Hariri will seek data from Hizbullah, following the disclosure of video footage the party claimed implemented Israel in the crime, the court’s prosecutor declared on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare said that he wanted information from Hizbullah Secretary Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, who in a Monday news conference unveiled “proof” that Israel murdered Hariri, as part of ongoing Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) investigations.

“I invite anyone who has relevant information to submit it to my office. Indeed, I welcome any information that can bring us closer to the truth,” Bellemare said. “I can assure those who bring this information that it will be thoroughly assessed.”

Speculation over who was responsible for the death of the five-time prime minister, who was assassinated when his motorcade was decimated by a Beirut car bomb in 2005, has gone into overdrive recently, following a series of revelations by Nasrallah, who previously claimed the court was seeking to indict Hizbullah members.

On Monday, Nasrallah screened video clips, purportedly of Israeli MK surveillance drone footage infiltrated by Hizbullah intelligence which showed the route Hariri took on February 14, 2005, moments before he and 22 others were killed. The footage was undated.

“In line with its mandate, the Office of the Prosecutor has requested the Lebanese authorities to provide all the information in possession of Nasrallah,” said a statement issued by Bellemare’s bureau. “This request includes the video material that was shown on television … as well as any other material that would be of assistance … in unveiling the truth.”

Bellemare also asked Nasrallah “to use his authority” in aiding the STL’s operations. Nasrallah has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the court’s work, last month labeling it an “Israeli project.”

Reaction to the claims has varied, with some opponents questioning the timing of the Nasrallah’s announcement and others suggesting the “evidence” sought to provide a smokescreen for party members under investigation by the STL. Israel slammed the revelations, dismissing them as “ridiculous.”

Nevertheless, Bellemare made the decision to ask for Hizbullah’s information amid intense speculation that assertions from the party would delay pending indictments.

“The Office of the Prosecutor has been given the mandate to identify and prosecute those responsible for the attack,” Bellemare’s office said.

“It has sole responsibility for the investigation and acts independently,” the statemnet said.

“Nobody can influence its direction. As such, it must pursue all possible leads,” the statement added.

The STL has been dogged by accusations of politicization since its inception and, in spite of Tribunal president Antonio Cassese’s disclosure to The Daily Star in May, suggesting indictments would materialize by the year’s end, the court has yet to bring evidence against any individual or party.

Hizbullah’s name has been associated with Hariri’s death since the publication of a controversial Der Spiegel article in 2009, which implicated the party. The death of Hariri was widely blamed at the time on Syria, which, in response to public opinion, withdrew from Lebanon after 29 years of military presence. Damascus denies the charge.

Hizbullah’s Loyalty to the Resistance bloc met on Wednesday in the wake of Bellemare’s announcement and urged the STL not to “[ignore] the proof presented by Nasrallah if it really wanted to reach the truth in the assassination of Hariri.”

“Therefore the bloc asks everyone concerned to examine hard and responsibly, the theory of accusing Israel of this crime and to continue studying Nasrallah’s evidence without stubbornness or politicization,” the statement added.

The bloc also repeated its previous calls for severe punishment to be dealt to false witnesses, such as Zuheir Siddiq, a former witness who later recanted his testimony.

For its part, March 14 issued a response to Bellemare’s decision, voicing its confidence in the STL conducting itself with the “highest levels of professionalism and integrity.”

“Justice is one of the main foundations of peace and stability and achieving justice should remain a rule untouched by personal and political benefits, no matter what party,” said a bloc statement.

“This is why the Lebanese asked for the STL. This is why they hang on to this tribunal and its full authorities and its role based on international justice standards.”

In spite of several high-profile resignations from the international probe, Bellemare’s office statement refused to be viewed as politically compromised.

“Away from the spotlight, the Office of the Prosecutor is pursuing its investigation according to the highest standards of international justice, in a neutral and objective way,” the STL statement said. “The Office … is led by the evidence and nothing else.”

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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