March 14 accuses March 8 of blackmail


Lebanon’s majority March 14 General Secretariat accused the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance of rejecting justice by preemptively rejecting any result of the investigation of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).

“Imposing this rejection on the Lebanese as a precondition for any political compromise is a political assassination of the Lebanese majority’s convictions and of the rights of the martyrs and their families,” the secretariat said in a statement following its weekly meeting.

“Justice is a foundation of stability and democracy. Giving it up under any circumstance is similar to giving up moral and political values that Lebanese are holding onto.” The statement added

March 8 is practicing “blatant blackmail by turning livelihood issues into material for political pressure at the expense of the people’s suffering,” the statement also said, in a reference to the ‘false witnesses’ controversy.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri has presented a “legal and constitutional” solution to the dispute, it added.

Hariri’s plan calls for establishing a judicial commission consisting of six judges including two judges to be suggested by Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar and tasking it with studying the “false witnesses” issue and suggesting a suitable solution to the matter, according to VOL.

Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance has called on the cabinet to ask the Judicial Council to investigate the issue of witnesses who gave unreliable testimonies to the international probe into the late PM Rafik Hariri’s 2005 murder. However, March 14 alliance is convinced that the regular judiciary should be able handle the matter.

But according to Central News agency ( CNA) the President of the Supreme Judicial Council Judge Ghaleb Ghanem told Lebanese President Michel Suleiman on Wednesday that the Council has refused to deal with with the false witnesses issue since the original file on the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri, is still with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon ( STL) and as long as this file is in its (STL) custody, it is not legal for the Judicial Council to deal with false witnesses issue.

The cabinet has been called for a meeting on Wednesday at the Presidential Palace in Baabda with the “false witnesses file” as the first item on the session’s agenda. This will be the first meeting since the November 10 session, during which the discussion of the controversial false witnesses issue was postponed to avoid a divisive vote.

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 repeat of the My 2008 incident when Hezbollah gunmen occupied west Beirut and tried but failed to occupy Mt Lebanon, resulting in the killing of over one hundred Lebanese.

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.

On December 7 a leading Israeli Military Intelligence official expressed concerns that Hezbollah might seize control of Lebanese government institutions .

“Dozens will be killed when Hezbollah uses force and takes over government institutions,” senior Military Intelligence official Colonel Yossi Adler told the Knesset in ‘a possible scenario if Hezbollah is indicted by STL.’

March 8 politicians have called for the cabinet to task the Justice Council with investigating the issue of witnesses who gave unreliable testimonies to the international probe into the 2005 assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri. However, March 14 figures have previously said that the regular judiciary should handle the matter.



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