The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

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August 23, 2010

August 23, 2010 - Daily Star - Hizbullah 'evidence' to delay STL indictments

By Wassim Mroueh

BEIRUT: Evidence provided by Hizbullah regarding the assassination of former Premier Rafik Hariri will delay an impending indictment by the UN-backed tribunal probing the murder, a well-informed judicial source told The Daily Star Sunday.

The source said documents provided by Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in a recent news conference would be thoroughly examined by Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) prosecutor Daniel Bellemare, who is probing the Hariri case. Such a process, according to the source, would at least delay the issuance of the indictment by around two months, after earlier reports said the indictment would be released in September.

The indictment would also outline the results reached by the STL regarding Nasrallah’s evidence, said the source, adding that the STL’s indictment would be “professional, technical and rely on definite proofs, rather than being tied to political considerations.”

During his news conference, Nasrallah screened video clips of alleged Israeli drone surveillance footage intercepted by Hizbullah that showed routes Hariri used to travel, including the area where he was killed on February 14, 2005.

Nasrallah also aired the confessions of an Israel agent who said he had been tasked by Israel to convince Hariri’s security personnel that Hizbullah was intending to assassinate Hariri.

Following a request by Bellemare for the disclosed evidence, Hizbullah refused to hand over the data directly, saying it had no faith in the tribunal.

But Hizbullah’s security official Wafiq Safa submitted last week the evidence to State Prosecutor Saeed Mirza, who in turn supplied Bellemare’s office in Beirut with the requested data.

In an earlier address, Nasrallah lashed out at the STL, dismissing it as an “Israeli project.”

Western reports said “rogue” Hizbullah members would be indicted in Hariri’s murder.

While rejecting such an indictment, Nasrallah said it reflected US and Israeli attempts to target the resistance.

Nasrallah has repeatedly called for forming a Lebanese committee to probe false witnesses which he said had misled the STL’s investigations.

In its latest session, the Cabinet tasked Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar with following up on the issue of false witnesses.

Head of Hizbullah’s Loyalty to the Resistance parliamentary bloc Nabatieh MP Mohammad Raad said Saturday that revealing the truth regarding Hariri’s murder was impossible before probing false witnesses. “We consider those witnesses as posing a greater danger to Lebanon than [Israeli] agents that are being uncovered,” he said at an iftar in the village of Suhmor in western Bekaa.

“Those [false witnesses] should be pursued and tried to uncover who [fielded] them and the agencies that sponsored them in order to reach truth,” added Raad.

Meanwhile, Administrative Affairs Minister Mohammad Fneish, also a Hizbullah official, denied that his party had called for canceling the STL and abrogating its agreement. “The party has not taken such a decision yet, and if this had happened, an official announcement would have been made,” he said in remarks published by Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai Sunday.

Fneish stressed the need to “punish false witnesses regardless of the side that will do so,” adding the Cabinet’s decision to task Najjar with following up on false witnesses stemmed from its keenness on revealing the truth and achieving justice.

Separately, head of the Tawhid Movement Wi’am Wahhab called upon the government to halt its funding of the STL and to withdraw Lebanese judges participating in it. “We will not be easy with the STL and we warn against tolerating its decisions. The STL is rejected in all its components and its decisions,” he told Al-Jadeed television station Sunday.

Nasrallah is expected to deliver an address at an iftar Tuesday, during which he is expected to touch on the subject of the STL.

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