Hariri Tribunal prosecutor amends indictment

UN-backed court looking into 2005 killing of former Lebanese prime minister expands indictment to include "substantive new elements."

May 6, 2011 21:13
1 minute read.
Protesters at a demonstration in Beirut, yesterday

Lebanon protests_311 Reuters. (photo credit: REUTERS/STR New)

UNITED NATIONS - The prosecutor for a UN-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 killing of Lebanese statesmen Rafik Hariri has amended his indictment to include "substantive new elements," the tribunal said on Friday.

The Lebanon tribunal, the world's first international court with jurisdiction over the crime of terrorism, was set up to try those accused over the Beirut bombing that killed Hariri, a former Lebanese prime minister, and 22 others.

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It gave no details about what was added to the indictment.

The contents of the prosecutor's original indictment filed in January and expanded in March are still secret. Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare's filing of the indictment set off a political crisis in Lebanon, where the militant Shi'ite group Hezbollah and its allies toppled the government of Hariri's son, Saad Hariri.

"The Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Daniel A. Bellemare, filed today an amended indictment, replacing the indictment of 11 March 2011, to include substantive new elements unavailable until recently," the Netherlands-based tribunal said in a statement.

The statement said there could be further indictments filed in the case "if warranted by the evidence."

"The amendment of an indictment or the filing of new indictments is and will continue to be guided solely by the evidence uncovered by the ongoing investigation," Bellemare was quoted as saying in the statement.

Lebanese officials and Western diplomats expect the court to accuse Hezbollah members of involvement in the assassination, a prospect Lebanese politicians fear could fuel further tensions.

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