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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lebanon Hezbullah tells STL they can't find the killers

The Hezbullah-dominated Lebanese government has told the Special Tribunal for Lebanon that it cannot find the four senior Hezbullah officials who have been indicted for the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri in 2005.
Lebanon informed the U.N.-backed court investigating the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri Tuesday that it has so far failed to arrest four Hezbollah members accused of involvement in the killing, a move that set the stage for their trial in absentia.

In the meantime, Interior Minister Marwan Charbel confirmed that police have carried out raids in various areas, including Hezbollah’s stronghold in Beirut’s southern suburbs, in search of the four party suspects.

“The Lebanese authorities reported to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon on the measures that they have taken to search for, arrest and transfer those accused in the Feb. 14, 2005 attack,” the Netherlands-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon said in a statement.

The statement said that Lebanese Prosecutor General Saeed Mirza submitted his report to the STL Tuesday in which he stated that “so far none of the four people who are accused have been detained.”

“The president of the STL, Judge Antonio Cassese, will now consider the report carefully and will in due course make a determination on the next steps,” the statement said. “Lebanon’s obligation under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1757 [is] to arrest, detain and transfer the accused continues,” it added.

The STL did not release any details of Mirza’s report, which came two days before a 30-day deadline set by the tribunal for the arrests to be made.
Of course, no one expected Lebanon to 'find' any of the four, but at least there is one small consequence to this:
Now that the four suspects have not been apprehended within 30 working days after the indictment’s release, the court will go public with the contents of arrest warrants. Lebanese authorities then have an additional 30 days to try and arrest suspects.
That could yet be interesting.

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