During a luncheon honoring Russian Ambassador Sergei Poukine on Sunday (on the occasion of the end of his mission to Lebanon), Democratic Gathering parliamentary bloc leader MP Walid Jumblatt said ‘ I wish we did not have the tribunal’.
He was referring to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).
STL was formed by the UN to identify and to try the killers of Lebanon’s former prime minister Rafik Hariri and the related crimes .
When the Russian ambassador told him: “You want the Tribunal. You shall have it.”
Jumblatt responded : “We got the tribunal, but I wish we did not.”
The luncheon was held at Jumblatt’s ancestral mansion in Mukhtara, Shouf in Mt Lebanon.
Jumblatt added that it would have been better if the Tribunal had never existed.
“The aim of UN Security Council Resolution 1559 and the 2006 July War was to disarm the Resistance. When this failed, they resorted to attempting to use the STL’s indictment to carry out this goal ,” Jumblatt said.
He also said that the tribunal’s pending indictment will destabilize Lebanon when it is issued and will lead to chaos.
“The best way to achieve justice in the 2005 assassination (of Hariri is to reveal the truth behind the witnesses who gave false testimony to the international commission investigating into the murder,” Jumblatt said.
Jumblatt who was one of the most outspoken Lebanese leaders in defense of the tribunal ( following Hariri’s assassination) is concerned that should STL indict Hezbollah members, this could lead to a Sunni-Shiite conflict similar to the one that brought the country to the brink of civil war in May 2008.
He is referring to the May 7 , 2008 event when gunmen of a Hezbollah-led alliance occupied the Sunni part of Beirut and tried but failed to occupy the Druze stronghold of Mt Lebanon . More Hezbollah gunmen were reportedly killed during the event than in the 2006 war with Israel.
Tension ran high in Lebanon following reports that the STL would soon indict Hezbollah members in Hariri’s murder.
The following Syrian agents , which were described as false witnesses provided information to the UN investigation team:
Mohammed Zuhair Siddiq also known as Mohamad Zouhair Siddik is a self proclaimed former Syrian intelligence operative who used to live in Lebanon.
Husam Taher Husam another self proclaimed former Syrian intelligence operative
Both provided information that led the Lebanese authorities to arrest the four Lebanese generals.
Husam now lives in Syria while Siddiq is reportedly now living in Australia
According to Ya Libnan legal advisers there is no such a thing as a false witness before indictments are made . Only the courts during the trial can determine whether a witness is for real or false. At this stage no body knows who will be indicted, despite the fact that Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has revealed that some members of the party will be indicted. Such information is not coming from STL …such information is most probably assumptions or extrapolations coming from Hezbollah members that were interrogated by the Investigators. The trials will start after the indictments are made . There are 12 judges , 4 of them are Lebanese .
Many Lebanese legal experts believe that the issue of false witnesses is being used by Hezbollah and its allies to undermine and discredit the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
Gemayel: Our choice is the STL
“If our choice is either the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) with some incidents on the ground, or no tribunal, we will choose the STL no matter what the ramifications are ,” Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel told MTV on Sunday.
The other side is not doing anything productive by issuing insults “and we do not know what their alternative to the STL is,” Gemayel said, asking “is the alternative unknown, or is it the destruction of the state, joining other entities, and returning to the era of tutelage?”
Gemayel also said that he is ready to go to Hezbollah and dialogue with them “if that presents a way out of the crisis,” adding that “this cannot be at the expense of the truth.”
Siniora- Lets unite behind STL
“We must unite behind the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) and cooperate in order for the tribunal to attain justice and the truth,” former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told reporters in Saida on Sunday according to the National News Agency (NNA).
The STL is the product of Lebanese consensus in the national dialogue and previous governments to eliminate the practice of political assassinations in the country and is therefore a “foundational issue,” Siniora said, adding that whoever the tribunal indicts will have the full right to defend himself legally.
The Resistance’s guns should stay pointed toward Israel in order to free occupied Lebanese territory and ought not be used in Lebanon’s domestic arena, he also said, in reference to the my 2008 events when Hezbollah pointed its guns against the Lebanese citizens