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 19, 2010 - Daily Star - Cabinet tasks Najjar with looking into false witnesses in Hariri probe

By Elias Sakr and Nafez Kawas

BEITEDDINE: The Lebanese Cabinet on Wednesday tasked Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar with following up on the issue of false witnesses in the case of the assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri.

The Cabinet’s decision came as a compromise after Hizbullah-loyal ministers demanded during Wednesday’s session the formation of a Lebanese committee to probe false witnesses, a move parliamentary majority groups continue to reject.

“A number of ministers raised the issue of false witnesses and discussions on the matter were held in a calm atmosphere. And, following deliberations, the government decided to task the justice minister with following up on the issue, particularly at the legal level,” Information Minister Tarek Mitri told reporters.

Mitri added that Najjar would in turn submit the available information on the issue to the government to answer questions raised by a number of ministers.

Prior to the Cabinet session, which was held at President Michel Sleiman’s summer residence in Beiteddine, Sleiman and Premier Saad Hariri held closed-door talks, after which Hariri told reporters that the Cabinet session would witness calm discussions.

Ahead of their participation in the Cabinet meeting, March 14 lawmakers reiterated their objection to the formation of such a committee arguing that such a step would lead to the politicization of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).

Hizbullah, which has voiced its doubts about the STL’s credibility and condemned it as an “Israeli project,” has demanded on several occasions the formation of a Lebanese committee to investigate the killing of late Premier Rafik Hariri.

Hizbullah politburo member Mahmmoud Qomati reiterated on Wednesday his party’s refusal to cooperate with the STL, while calling for its scrapping and replacement with a Lebanese committee.

Phalange Party MP Selim Sayegh told reporters that a Cabinet decision to form a committee to investigate false witnesses would signal the interference of a political authority in judicial affairs, a step that would conflict with the principle of the separation of powers.

While the Cabinet refrained from discussing a three-year plan to equip the Lebanese Army after Defense Minister Elias Murr missed Wednesday’s session due to illness, Sleiman urged that efforts to implement the plan, as well as the drive to collect donations and military aid by friendly states, be pursued.

Sleiman stressed that the plan should go hand in hand with a media and political campaign to counter the Israeli diplomatic movement against equipping the Lebanese Army.

“The armament plan will be discussed by the Higher Defense Council,” Sleiman added.

LBC television reported that Murr submitted on Wednesday to the government’s secretariat general a three-year proposal prepared by the Army Command to equip the military.

The report added that the proposal would be discussed during the Cabinet’s upcoming session.

Recent reports have said that the US and Western states could review their military aid program to Lebanon after the August 3 border clash with Israel that killed two Lebanese soldiers, a Lebanese journalist and a high-ranking Israeli officer.

Future Movement MP Ziad Qadri said the plan to equip the Lebanese Army should go hand in hand with an agreement over a national defense strategy to protect Lebanon.

The National Dialogue Committee chaired by Sleiman is scheduled to meet on Thursday at Beiteddine to discuss the national defense strategy.

The Cabinet’s session is the first to be held in Beiteddine since late former President Sleiman Franjieh concluded his post in 1976.

On another note, the Cabinet appointed Adnan Merheb as secretary general of the Higher Defense Council effective following the retirement of Major General Saeed Eid on August 23.

The Cabinet also approved an increase in wheat stock and the import of 100,000-tons of wheat in two batches at $60 billion.

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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