BEIRUT | Lebanon is bracing itself. The U.N.-backed court set up after the 2005 assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is expected to announce indictments of Hezbollah members before the end of the year.
Some Lebanese people say the court will deliver justice and end Lebanon’s cycle of political assassinations. Others say the court it is a Western political tool, built solely to target Hezbollah. Many are angry, many are afraid.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon was set up after the former prime minister was killed by a bomb along with 22 other people in Beirut. In recent months, the court has turned its focus to Hezbollah, sparking a fierce debate inside Lebanon.
The report detailed an investigation of phone records that suggest an eight-member Hezbollah-backed team carried out the assassination. Wissam Eid, the security officer who conducted most of the investigation, was killed by a bomb blast in 2008.
The court responded quickly by issuing a statement that condemned the broadcaster’s report, saying it endangered lives.
“It will be for the judges, and the judges alone, to assess the evidence and reach conclusions based on the facts as established at trial, and the law,” prosecutor Daniel Bellemare said in the statement.
“We have full confidence in Internal Security Forces-Information Branch head Col. Wissam al-Hassan,” Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, son of the slain leader, was quoted as saying in local news reports.
Hezbollah denies any involvement in the assassination and accuses Israel of staging the attack. At a graduation ceremony on Sunday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah told graduates and supporters via satellite link that Israel had invaded Lebanese telecommunications. He called on other countries in the region to prevent the indictments, which he said were “a threat to Lebanon’s security.”
“Those who are speaking about a post-indictment solution, I can tell them that by then, it will be too late and we would all have lost the initiative,” he said.
Mr. Nasrallah has said he will “cut the hands” of anyone who tries to arrest members and has promised “major political change” if members are indicted.View Entire Story
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