STL denies indictment has been issued


Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) Prosecutor-General Daniel Bellemare has finished the draft of his indictment in former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s 2005 assassination and submitted it to STL Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen, Georges Malbrunot of French newspaper Le Figaro quoted an STL source as saying on Sunday.

It is up to Fransen to make decisions regarding the indictment’s admissibility and requests for the arrest of those accused, Malbrunot quoted an anonymous source close to the tribunal as saying.

Fransen may take a week or several weeks to make his decisions, the source said.

The source added that Fransen could take ongoing efforts to reduce Lebanese tensions into consideration when timing his response.

STL denies report

Wajd Ramadan STL coordinator told George Salibi during the the Week in an Hour program at New TV that Prosecutor Danielle Bellemare has not yet submitted any draft indictment to STL Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen.

Ramadan said Fransen has the authority to reject the indictment altogether , but added that the suspicion in Lebanon over the upcoming indictment is not reflected in the work of the court or its legality because its work is legal

In response to a question about the funding of STL and the possibility of resignation of the Lebanese judges she said: In the case of Lebanon’s refusal to fund the court or the resignation of judges, this will not affect STL , because resolution 1757 is binding for Lebanon to deal with the court.

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 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.

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

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun , (a close ally of Hezbollah ) said on November 18 that Hezbollah might violently respond to an STL indictment that accuses Hezbollah party’s members in Hariri’s assassination.