The French UN mission announced on Friday that France will be contributing an additional 1.5 million Euro ( $ 2million) to The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) budget, which brings its total contribution to 4.5 million Euro ( $ 6 million )
France also on Friday condemned efforts to undermine the UN court investigating the 2005 killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri .
“STL is in the interests of Lebanon as well as the entire region, and therefore must be allowed to continue working completely independently in an atmosphere of calm,” the French UN mission said in its statement
“The international community must continue to lend the tribunal its political and financial support,” the French statement said.
Western countries have sought to signal their support for the STL in recent weeks as it has come under increasing attack from Hezbollah, Iran and Syria
The United States last month donated an addition $10 million, while Britain donated an additional one million pounds ($1.56 million)
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 Sunni Shitte 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.
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 ( so called false ) witnesses who reportedly gave unreliable testimonies to the international probe into the 2005 assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri. However, March 14 politicians believe that the regular judiciary should handle the matter.
Chairman of the Judicial and Administration Parliamentary Committee MP Robert Ghanem during an interview with “Arab week” and “Magazine” on Thursday explained the issue of false witnesses :
“ Article 408 and some other articles of the Lebanese Penal Code define the false witness as the person who testifies to the judicial authorities and provides contradictory testimony , but the testimony before the security forces or law enforcement authorities ( not in front of a judge ) is considered a false testimony”.