Friday, 17 April 2009

Judge at UN-backed Lebanon tribunal demands reasons for detentions


16 April 2009 –

The continued detention in Lebanon of persons of interest in the bomb blast that killed the country’s former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri must be substantiated before the end of the month, a judge of the United Nations-backed tribunal set up to try the case has said.

Yesterday, Daniel Fransen, the Pre-Trial Judge for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon ordered the prosecutor to file, by 27 April 2009, reasoned submissions stating whether or not he requests the continued holding of those persons, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq said today.

Mr. Fransen stressed that that it is a fundamental right, enshrined in all human rights instruments, that any individual arrested or detained be brought promptly before a judge to rule on his or her detention status.

He noted, however, that the Hariri case raised difficult issues of terrorism, and that the judicial record relating to it was particularly complex and voluminous.

The Tribunal, an independent body located in The Hague, is designed to try those accused of recent political murders in Lebanon, particularly the February 2005 assassination of Mr. Hariri and 22 others in downtown Beirut.

It took over from the Beirut-based International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) in the beginning of March 2009.

The investigation of the murders continues under the guidance of Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare, who also headed the probe while the case rested with the IIIC, and a trial will take place when he has sufficient evidence in place.

News Tracker: past stories on this issue

Tribunal for Lebanon killings a landmark in ending impunity – UN legal chief

Four Lebanese Officers To Be Released before Monday

Readers Number : 93

16/04/2009 The case of the four Lebanese officers detained without charges since 2005 over the assassination case of former Prime Minister martyr Rafik Hariri has resurfaced. They are reportedly to be released from prison before Monday.

A delegation from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) charged with the Hariri investigation will visit the officers on Thursday at Roumieh prison. A defense attorney representing the four officers disclosed in an interview published Thursday that all the information in the officers’ families and lawyers’ hands indicate that a decision to release them had been taken.

The four officers are Jamil Sayyed, Ali Hajj, Raymond Azar and Mustafa Hamdan who respectively headed the General Security Department, the Internal Security Forces, Military Intelligence and the Presidential Guards Brigade. Last week, a Lebanese investigating judge lifted the arrest warrants against the officers. Judge Sakr Sakr also ordered that the four remain in jail pending a decision on their fate by the STL.

The officers’ attorney told the daily As Safir that his defendants are likely to be freed before Monday unless the adopted procedures were adjusted unexpectedly especially after the handing over of the documents in Hariri case lacked for organization. It also needed to be translated into English, a mission undertaken by a large group including a number of committees and dozens of translators.

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