French FM: Hariri killers cannot escape punishment


French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said during a press conference in Beirut on Saturday that “no one can influence the international justice process,” in a reference to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).

Kouchner also said that he visited Beirut to reiterate his country’s support for Lebanon and STL.

“The perpetrators behind the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri cannot escape punishment, ” he stressed

Kouchner also said that STL is not targeting any particular group ,but noted that he does not know the content of the pending indictment to be issued by STL Prosecutor Danielle Bellemare.

“I know that some people are more worried than others … No particular group is being targeted, ” he said

Kouchner was asked if Lebanon could stop cooperating with STL. He , replied: “It is simply not possible.”

“International justice is like that, always moving forward, and no one can affect it,” the Kouchner stressed.

Kouchner who arrived in Lebanon on Friday for a two-day official visit, met the top Lebanese government officials and Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir

Last Thursday, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah called on all Lebanese to boycott the STL and to end all cooperation with its investigators.

Tension escalated in Lebanon following reports that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will soon issue its indictment into the 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Last July, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that the tribunal is “an Israeli project” that will indict Hezbollah members. Nasrallah accused Israel of being behind Hariri’s assassination but refused to provide the evidence to STL to support his claim. Hezbollah and its March 8 allies have been calling for the abolition of STL.

Some leaders are concerned that should the court indict Hezbollah members, it could lead to a Shiite-Sunni strife.

Al Akhbar newspaper reported earlier in the week that Hezbollah has prepared a plan to take over Lebanon when STL issues its indictment for the 2005 murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.