Saturday, 2 July 2011

STL: Indictments On Demand

Local Editor

“Indictment will be issued dealing with three cases: former PM Rafik Hariri’s assassination, May Chidiac and MP Marwan Hamadeh or former minister Elias Murr, in addition to accusations of Lebanese and Syrian figures."

A March-14 Lebanese MP was quoted as saying, who is ‘not an official in the International Tribunal for Hariri’s case.’

It is enough to read such a quote to realize the judicial farce lying behind the court’s formation at the highest international levels. It is a renewed model of statements, forecasts and the many leaks in the local and international newspapers and mass media, which dealt with the indictment content before being issued, indicating a flagrant breach of the Court’s professional procedures.

However, not only the President of Phalange party expressed few days ago that indictment is going to be issued as soon as possible, but also March 14 media leaks it will be issued within days.

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported from ‘well-informed’ sources that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is about to submit a request to the Lebanese government to investigate personally with five Hezbollah members. The sources confirmed that the names of the five indicted will be kept confidential for a limited period of time before being declared.

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat’s information intersected with that of Al-Hayat newspaper of London, when the latter pointed out that “indictment is expected within a few days.”

An international source in Paris revealed for Al-Hayat that International Court will deliver to the Lebanese judiciary – in accordance with procedures – the indictment text on Monday or Tuesday. That conforms to the confirmation of the French sources following-up the assassination case, which said the issuance date will be this week.

When STL issue returned to the forefront, it was accompanied by politicization characterizing its work since the start of the stage leading up to its origins, indictments – i.e. international investigation - its course of action and the accompanying developments.

Today, the close issuance of the indictment appears during a sensitive political period in both Lebanon and Syria. The new cabinet and Syria are under attack, although the attacks against the former political, and against the latter armed with various weapons.


In retrospect, accusation hypotheses were shuttling between several parties, which reveal the political flavor of the STL’s work and investigation.

During the internal and external campaign against the Resistance weapons in 2010, leaks had been revealed to confirm that members of Hezbollah are accused of the assassination.

At the beginnings of the international investigation, it had been said that confessions of the so-called ‘Group of 13’ is likely to be a key material in the court’s decisions.

March-14 promoted that STL will accuse Syria, then the promotion was cancelled magically to mobilize political and press atmosphere confirming that STL will accuse Hezbollah. Recently, the expectation returned back to combine Hezbollah and Syria together.

The military court issued its provisions against elements of the ‘group of 13’ belonging to al-Qaeda, which one of its members confessed – after being arrested in 2006 - that his group had assassinated the former PM Rafik Hariri.

The sentences ranged between two and ten years on charges of attempting to commit terrorist actions, to belong to al-Qaeda and to form an armed gang in order to carry out felonies and transfer weapons, radios, bags and more.

Noteworthy to mention here that Major General Jamil Sayyed stressed that agents of former PM Saad Hariri may have distorted the investigation with ‘group of 13’ in line with the political decision of March 14 party at the time, which exclusively accused Syria and the four officers of assassinating Rafiq Hariri, along with refusing any other hypothesis, despite dozens of facts found in the confessions of the group mentioned.

According to observers, ignoring the ‘group of 13’ or the Israeli hypothesis was met by the focus of international investigators and the international court on trends aimed at obtaining information to assist the indictment of Syria or Hezbollah, or of both. It has been relied upon a group of false witnesses who are still protected from prosecution or from finding out who was behind their motivation.


“In my point of view, the court was scheduled on a strategic level, just like the indictment scheduled on a tactic level and used for political goals,” the author and researcher Nabih al-Borji said to Al-Manar Website.

"I get surprised when some people start to warn of politicizing the Court. The issue is related primarily to the 2004 meeting in Normandy between Bush and Chirac, where a long-term scenario became clear – which had also been made clear through books published in France and the United States or via French and American comments – in the context of which resolution 1559 is carried out,” al-Borji added.

“I do not think the US despises Hariri’s blood, noting that Paris had issued more than a book about the French dilemma, dealing with the need for a role in the region. Chirac thought that Bush enjoys a high level of stupidity and France can play a pivotal role in the Middle East. This led to the resolution 1559," al-Borji expressed.

Al-Borji pointed out that "we all are following what is happening in the world. When the idea of the investigation committee and - later - the court emerged, even if they focused on the moral and legal aspects of the claim - the political aspect remains the most important.”

“Belmar said that he wouldn’t present an indictment unless based upon decisive evidences, however he modified the indictment twice, and he had benefited from the developments in Syria to increase charges against Damascus,” al-Borji said.

Al-Borji expressed beliefs that if Saad al-Hariri’s government remained, the Indictment would have postponed for years.

According to al-Borji, the Court’s work came within a specific strategic framework. “It is stupid to say the STL had been established for moral or professional reasons. This kind of courts is absolutely political,” he stated.

“They thought that Lebanon and Syria had lost papers, but what we hear and sea is completely the opposite. The matter doesn’t deal with charging several persons, but they try to change the game’s rule in the region, which is not easy at all. Sedition would be very expensive for them.

Al-Borji called upon Lebanese officials, personalities and parties to be aware of the seriousness of this stage. The plan was put since the Normandi meeting, and the Jewish establishment had talked since 1923 about dismantling the region. Everything carried out, is inspired by the Jewish establishment,” he concluded..


“The Security Council,

“Recalling all its previous relevant resolutions, in particular resolutions 1595 (2005) of 7 April 2005, 1636 (2005) of 31 October 2005, 1644 (2005) of 15 December 2005, 1664 (2006) of 29 March 2006 and 1748 (2007) of 27 March 2007,

“Reaffirming its strongest condemnation of the 14 February 2005 terrorist bombings as well as other attacks in Lebanon since October 2004,

“Reiterating its call for the strict respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and political independence of Lebanon under the sole and exclusive authority of the Government of Lebanon,
“Recalling the letter of the Prime Minister of Lebanon to the Secretary-General of 13 December 2005 (S/2005/783) requesting inter alia the establishment of a tribunal of an international character to try all those who are found responsible for this terrorist crime, and the request by this Council for the Secretary-General to negotiate an agreement with the Government of Lebanon aimed at establishing such a Tribunal based on the highest international standards of criminal justice,

“Recalling further the report of the Secretary-General on the establishment of a special tribunal for Lebanon on 15 November 2006 (S/2006/893) reporting on the conclusion of negotiations and consultations that took place between January 2006 and September 2006 at United Nations

Headquarters in New York, The Hague, and Beirut between the Legal Counsel of the United Nations and authorized representatives of the Government of Lebanon, and the letter of its President to the Secretary-General of 21 November 2006 (S/2006/911) reporting that the Members of the Security Council welcomed the conclusion of the negotiations and that they were satisfied with the Agreement annexed to the Report,

“Recalling that, as set out in its letter of 21 November 2006, should voluntary contributions be insufficient for the Tribunal to implement its mandate, the Secretary-General and the Security Council shall explore alternate means of financing the Tribunal,

“Recalling also that the Agreement between the United Nations and the Lebanese Republic on the establishment of a Special Tribunal for Lebanon was signed by the Government of Lebanon and the United Nations respectively on 23 January and 6 February 2007,

“Referring to the letter of the Prime Minister of Lebanon to the Secretary-General of the United Nations (S/2007/281), which recalled that the parliamentary majority has expressed its support for the Tribunal, and asked that his request that the Special Tribunal be put into effect be presented to the Council as a matter of urgency,

“Mindful of the demand of the Lebanese people that all those responsible for the terrorist bombing that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and others be identified and brought to justice,

“Commending the Secretary-General for his continuing efforts to proceed, together with the Government of Lebanon, with the final steps for the conclusion of the Agreement as requested in the letter of its President dated 21 November 2006 and referring in this regard to the briefing by the Legal Counsel on 2 May 2007, in which he noted that the establishment of the Tribunal through the Constitutional process is facing serious obstacles, but noting also that all parties concerned reaffirmed their agreement in principle to the establishment of the Tribunal,

“Commending also the recent efforts of parties in the region to overcome these obstacles,
“Willing to continue to assist Lebanon in the search for the truth and in holding all those involved in the terrorist attack accountable and reaffirming its determination to support Lebanon in its efforts to bring to justice perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of this and other assassinations,
“Reaffirming its determination that this terrorist act and its implications constitute a threat to international peace and security,

“1. Decides, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, that:
(a) The provisions of the annexed document, including its attachment, on the establishment of a Special Tribunal for Lebanon shall enter into force on 10 June 2007, unless the Government of Lebanon has provided notification under Article 19 (1) of the annexed document before that date;
(b) If the Secretary-General reports that the Headquarters Agreement has not been concluded as envisioned under Article 8 of the annexed document, the location of the seat of the Tribunal shall be determined in consultation with the Government of Lebanon and be subject to the conclusion of a Headquarters Agreement between the United Nations and the State that hosts the Tribunal;
(c) If the Secretary-General reports that contributions from the Government of Lebanon are not sufficient to bear the expenses described in Article 5 (b) of the annexed document, he may accept or use voluntary contributions from States to cover any shortfall;

“2. Notes that, pursuant to Article 19 (2) of the annexed document, the Special Tribunal shall commence functioning on a date to be determined by the Secretary-General in consultation with the Government of Lebanon, taking into account the progress of the work of the International Independent Investigation Commission;

“3. Requests the Secretary-General, in coordination, when appropriate, with the Government of Lebanon, to undertake the steps and measures necessary to establish the Special Tribunal in a timely manner and to report to the Council within 90 days and thereafter periodically on the implementation of this resolution;

“4. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”

- Ahmad Sheito contributed to this report.

Jumblat: Release of Indictment Political

Local Editor

The Head of National Struggle Front MP Walid Jumblat said on Friday that the release of the indictment in the 2005 assassination of former premier Rafiq Hariri was political, stressing that civil peace is more important than all other matters.

In a press conference at his residence in Clemenceau, Jumblat questioned the timing of the release of the indictment, noting that it took place soon after the formation of the new government.
“The decision to release the indictment was political”.
“Civil peace is more important than all other matters and dialogue is the only way to avert strife and tensions”, Jumblat said.

“Justice requires us to avoid falling into the trap of international agendas, similar to what happened in the past”, he warned.

Jumblat pointed out that the content of the indictment “are similar to the media leaks that had been revealed in the past and we should therefore exercise vigilance in this upcoming phase in Lebanon”.
He reiterated the slain premier’s statement that “no one is greater than their country”, saying that this should be the slogan of the upcoming phase in Lebanon.

“Had he been alive today, he would have adopted this approach to avoid leading the country towards strife”, the MP stressed.

On the other hand Jumblat said that the major regional changes require the Lebanese to unite to confront all possible repercussions the developments may have on the country.
“Let the government, judiciary, and security institutions perform their duties”, he said.

“I believe that the government policy statement called for dialogue and there can be no escaping it”, Jumblat concluded.

On Thursday, Special Tribunal for Lebanon delegation handed over the indictment to Lebanese General Prosecutor Judge Said Mirza.

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