STL Prosecutor Submits Indictment in Hariri Probe
One hour after denying a press report over the matter, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon confirmed the rumors: the indictment in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri’s case was submitted…
The indictment, believed to be part of the American-Israeli plot against Lebanon and the Resistance, is expected to remain confidential for a while.
INDICTMENT SUBMITTED, TO REMAIN CONFIDENTIAL
According to a statement issued by the tribunal’s press office, STL Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare submitted the confidential indictment Monday against suspects in the 2005 murder of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.
“The prosecutor of the tribunal has submitted an indictment and supporting materials to the pre-trial judge,” the tribunal said in a statement in The Hague, where it is based for security reasons.
Bellemare presented the documents, widely believed to unfairly implicate Hezbollah, to the tribunal’s registry at 4:35pm (15:35 GMT), it said.
They “will now be reviewed by the pre-trial judge, Daniel Fransen”, who has to confirm the charges before any arrest warrant or summons to appear can be issued.
The pre-trial judge should need six to 10 weeks to confirm the charges, tribunal registrar Herman von Hebel told journalists in The Hague in December. He could also decide to reject the indictment in whole or in part, or ask the prosecutor for additional information. A trial could follow “four to six months” after the confirmation of the charges, according to Von Hebel.
The STL’s amended rules allows for a trial to be held “in absentia”, meaning without the accused being present, if arrests are impossible.
INDICTMENT RELEASE PART OF POLITICAL EXPLOITATION
The submission’s timing is believed as well to have political meanings, especially after the collapse of the Lebanese government headed by Saad Hariri following the “death” of the Syrian-Saudi initiative aimed at dealing with the repercussions of the indictment.
One day earlier, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said that the release of the indictment was part of the political exploitation of the STL and its indictment. His eminence emphasized that the Americans and Israelis worked hard to accelerate the indictment’s release after obstructing the Saudi-Syrian initiative.
“It is obvious that the Americans and the Israelis were against the Arab effort and they bargained on its failure because they had in mind that the crisis was complicated and eventually, they will not need to interfere. However, when they realized that the process was yielding positive results, they interfered in a decisive way. This is why the efforts stopped so suddenly.”
HEZBOLLAH WILL NOT LET ANYONE DAMAGE ITS REPUTATION
During his Sunday speech, Hezbollah Secretary General also anticipated the indictment’s expected release, vowing that the Resistance group would “defend” itself against likely charges by the tribunal. His eminence warned that Hezbollah will not let anyone damage its reputation and dignity and will not allow anyone to conspire against the Resistance or accuse it of spilling the blood of martyr Rafiq Hariri.
“I reassure those who are still after this project that they are miscalculating,” Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out. “We tell those who believe they can use the indictment to target the resistance that they are extensively miscalculating.”
“I will have another speech in light of what Bellemare will issue in the next couple of days,” Sayyed Nasrallah concluded.