Lebanon's Hariri tribunal hopes for 2012 trial

Four Hezbollah suspects to be tried in absentia for murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.

By REUTERS
February 2, 2012 15:33
2 minute read.
Saad Harir speaks in front of picture of Rafik

Saad Harir speaks in front of picture of Rafik 311R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

BEIRUT - The UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon said on Thursday it hoped to start in 2012 the trial in absentia of four Hezbollah suspects, indicted over the killing of Lebanon's former prime minister Rafik Hariri.

Warrants for the arrest of the four men were issued by the tribunal in June, but Lebanon later told the court it had been unable to track any of them down.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The powerful Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah has denied any role in the 2005 car bombing which killed Hariri, a billionaire Sunni Muslim politician, and 21 other people and said it would refuse to allow any of the suspects to be arrested.

"We still hope we can start the trial in earnest in 2012," tribunal spokesman Marten Youssef told a news conference.

"Preliminary motions will likely come up by the end of the next 60 days and the pre-trial judge will consult with the defense council once they are appointed about how much time they need to review the material and form their own case," he said.

The Netherlands-based tribunal said in a statement on Wednesday it was accepting preliminary motions challenging its jurisdiction or technical defects of the indictments.

Hezbollah, which fought a war against Israel in 2006, says the court is politically motivated and favors US and Israeli interests.



The tribunal said on Wednesday that the four suspects would be tried in absentia after concluding that "all reasonable steps have been taken to secure the appearance of the accused and to notify them of the charges." Hariri's killing plunged Lebanon into a political crisis that saw assassinations and street clashes in May 2008, dragging the civil war-scarred country back to the brink of conflict.

Hezbollah brought down the government of Hariri's son, Saad, in 2011 when its members and their allies withdrew from the cabinet after he resisted calls to renounce the tribunal.

The suspects were named last July as Mustafa Amine Badreddine, a senior Hezbollah figure and brother-in-law of slain Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh, as well as Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra.

Prosecutors issued six monthly reports to the tribunal of the steps taken to try to arrest the four, Youssef said, adding that the tribunal felt that after months of heavy media coverage it was "inconceivable they are unaware they have been indicted."

Related Content

   Members of a Shia militia guard a house in Iraq. The new NDAA warned about the presence of Irania
August 14, 2018
Analysis: Congress’s NDAA gave Trump a green light to confront Iran

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN