Rafik Hariri billboards 311 R.
(photo credit: Ali Hashisho / Reuters)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday praised the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) after it issued an indictment on Thursday over the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, an official statement said. On Thursday, the long-awaited indictments were hailed as a “historic
moment” by Hariri’s son, opposition leader Saad Hariri, who urged the
Mikati's government to cooperate with the court in rounding up the
suspects – all four of whom are linked to Hezbollah.
Clinton called the indictment an important step, and said "We understand that this is an emotional and significant period for all involved, and we call on all parties to promote calm and continue to respect the Special Tribunal as it carries out its duties in a professional and apolitical manner."
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She added, "Those who oppose the Special Tribunal seek to create a false choice between justice and stability. Lebanon, like any country, needs and deserves both."
Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court said the indictments contained detailed information on the motives and procedures behind the former prime minister's death, London-based Asharq Al-Awsat reported Friday.
The report said the indictments included information on the political motives that lead to the decision to kill Hariri, plans made for the assassination and how it was implemented, and steps that were taken to cover the traces left behind by the assassins.
Commenting on the report, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati was quoted by Lebanese newspaper As-Safir as saying that he was convinced there would be no strife in Lebanon as a result of the indictments, and that the Lebanese government continues to function as usual.
"We do not want to create a state of panic and tension in the country as a result of a publication of an international decision over which we have no control," he was quoted as saying.
Lebanese Prosecutor-General Saeed Mirza did not disclose the contents of
the indictments, but they are understood to accuse four Hezbollah
members of involvement in the February 14, 2005, bombing in Beirut that
killed Hariri and 22 others.