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.

Search This Blog

December 1, 2016

The Daily Star- STL defense questions phone booth probe, December 01 , 2016

BEIRUT: Witness Glenn Williams underwent a final day of questioning Wednesday at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, testifying on his investigation into the “false claim of responsibility” for the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. During the session, defense counsel Guenael Mettraux grilled Williams on his role in examining phone records related to the alleged false claim which consisted of a video acquired by the Al-Jazeera news network after the 2005 attack. In it a man named Ahmad Abu Adass claimed responsibility for the bombing in the name of a group called Nusra and Jihad in Greater Syria.
According to the prosecution, the tape and its subsequent dissemination was organized by Hussein Hasan Oneissi and Assad Hasan Sabra. The prosecution’s case alleges that Sabra and Oneissi carefully coordinated their communication with news networks via four different phone booths.
This claim was corroborated by an email sent by Williams during his time as an investigator. Quoting the email, Mettraux said, “the movement of the person using [a phone card associated with Sabra] to make the calls to the media organization appears to have been planned.”
Mettraux pushed back strongly against this assertion – claiming that the prosecution and their investigators had failed to eliminate all other potential scenarios when crafting their version of events.
His line of questioning focused on additional calls made from the phone booths, as well as cellphone usage attributed to Sabra and Oneissi in areas around the booths.
“If you are planning to use these particular phone booths for a particular purpose, you’d have to know in the first place that they do exist at these locations, yes?” Mettraux said. “Did you then find any electronic traces of the phones of the accused around these phone booths at the times when the preparations would have occurred?”
Williams said that he was unaware of other call activity from the booths, though he qualified it by stating that his assignment did not directly relate to that information.
Mettraux also asked Williams about calls made on the phone booths assumed to be unrelated to Sabra and Oneissi. “You knew that there were irrelevant phone calls from one booth, but did you ever show interest and or look into the records of the phone booth?”
According to Williams, this was also not his role in the investigation. However, he explained that he was personally unaware of anybody else in the office who had examined the full call records of the public phones.
Nevertheless, Prosecutor David Milne rejected Mettraux’s contention that Williams’ lack of knowledge about call logs and other cell activity constituted a flaw in their case.
“It is not the investigation that is on trial,” he said. “If the witness cannot answer the question, it is more on the questioner than the witness.”
Milne also said that simply because Williams himself was not aware of efforts to investigate other activity related to the phone booths did not mean that other investigators from the office of the prosecutor did not do so.
Mettraux, however, disagreed – explaining that the defense had yet to see a complete explanation of the process used to connect Sabra and Oneissi to the phone booths. “This seems to be the case with every single investigator we have cross examined. They always claim ‘someone else’ investigated,” he said.
“Unless the prosecution is willing to bring us that ‘someone else,’ we will be in a position to ask the chamber to draw inferences from the fact that these matters have not been the subject to a proper and full investigation.”

Source & Link The Daily Star

No comments:

Post a Comment