Hezbollah Secretary General’s political adviser Hussein Khalil said after meeting with FPM leader MP Aoun: Amendments to STL don’t concern Hezbollah.
The special Tribunal For Lebanon STL issued a statement on Friday in which it said that its Judges met from November 8-11 to consider, among other issues, proposed amendments to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence (RPE).
The Judges have reportedly adopted a number of rule changes that will enhance the efficiency, effectiveness and integrity of the Tribunal’s proceedings after hearing the arguments of the Office of the Prosecutor, the Office of the Defense and the Registry.
Amongst the most important were changes to the rules governing the service of an indictment by detailing the practical steps that must be taken after the confirmation of an indictment, in particular regarding the start of in absentia proceedings.
The new framework creates more legal certainty for the accused and other parties in the proceedings. The Judges also adopted a procedure allowing the Pre-Trial Judge to submit questions to the Appeals Chamber on the interpretation of the applicable law that he believes are necessary for the confirmation of any indictment.
The Judges also clarified the admissibility of written statements by witnesses unavailable to come and testify for good reasons.
The STL amendments come after Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah called on all Lebanese to boycott the STL and to end cooperation with its investigators.
Nasrallah also said in his speech last Thursday that Hezbollah will not allow the arrest of any of its members if indicted by STL : “Any hand that will touch any of them will be cut off, ” he said.
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, the Hezbollah chief 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, others aren’t as worried and see this as a desperate attempt by Hezbollah to intimidate and scare the Lebanese and specially PM Saad Hariri .
The Pro Syrian Al Akhbar newspaper reported last 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.
Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun , (a close ally of Hezbollah ) said last Wednesday that Hezbollah might violently respond to an STL indictment that accuses Hezbollah party’s members in Hariri’s assassination.
Another FPM member MP Alain Aoun said on Saturday that the Lebanese must “have reservations about any decision issued by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).”
The MP told Sawt al-Mada radio station that the tribunal was not established in accordance with the Lebanese constitution.