The issue of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) continues to delay the drafting of the ministerial policy statement of the new cabinet and efforts to bridge the gap between Hezbollah and Prime minister Nagib Mikati have not been successful so far.
Ahmad Yassin a political observer told Ya Libnan ” It is obvious that the new Hezbollah controlled cabinet does not want anything to do with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon but Mikati being a Sunni is morally obligated to show some support, since the issue of STL is all about the assassination of the most famous Sunni in the Arab world “. He added :” Hezbollah and their allies are trying to get away with the absolute minimum, while Mikati is trying to at least show some concern , hoping that the issue will die with time”. Yassin continued :” Watch out for the most ambiguous statements in this regard that even world class lawyers won’t be able to interpret “.
March 14 MP Khaled Zahraman told the Voice of Lebanon on Sunday that the Ministerial Statement will include an ambiguous clause about the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
He expressed hope that a well defined and crystal clear STL paragraph is included in the Ministerial Statement. He stressed that the current cabinet is a “confrontation cabinet ” and therefore may try to interpret an ambiguous clause anyway it sees fit to protect itself .
Zahraman also said that transferring the issue of the STL to national-dialogue sessions is dangerous because “through our experience, national dialogue turned out to be the cemetery of all issues.” In a possible reference to the defense strategy which was discussed during several sessions without any progress.
Mikati and Speaker Nabih Berri are reportedly discussing the STL issue and may reach an agreement on an appropriate phrasing for the government policy statement that would not “antagonize” the international community, ministerial sources told Al-Hayat in remarks published on Sunday.
The sources added that Hezbollah will be able to “live with such a phrasing” until February 2012 when the cooperation agreement between Lebanon and the STL expires, which the new government will likely not renew.
“There is therefore no need for a disagreement to emerge in the new government over the STL as long as there is an agreement to deal with its requests when the time comes,” the sources added precisely confirming what Yassin is saying
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) an international tribunal was created for the prosecution of those responsible for former PM Rafik Hariri’s assassination . Hariri was assassinated on on February 14, 2005. The tribunal also has jurisdiction over a series of other attacks in Lebanon (between 1 October 2004 and 12 December 2005) if they are proven to be connected with the Hariri assassination. The court is based in Leidschendam, near The Hague, in the Netherlands and it has a field office in the Lebanese capital Beirut.
According to local reports STL will announce the indictments between June 20th and July 5th.
Respect vs commit
Mikati sources are claiming that the PM is proposing the clause “respect” of international agreements
but March 14 camp is is reportedly suspicious of Mikati’s proposed statement and are insisting instead on a clause that implies “commitment” to international agreements.
According to reports the STL indictment could be issued before the Lebanese cabinet’s policy statement is announced or prior to the parliament’s vote of confidence.
The Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hezbollah brought down PM Saad Hariri’s government on January 12 over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s imminent indictment which is widely expected to implicate Hezbollah members in the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri in 2005.