The prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) , Daniel Bellemare on Monday responded to Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s televised speech last Saturday in which he attacked the tribunal , its staff and its credibility and vowed not to cooperate with it in any shape or form.
Bellemare Requested the video material from Nasrallah and defends the Impartiality’ of the STL staff
“The Prosecutor welcomes Mr. Nasrallah’s offer to provide the file that he stated he has on some elements of the investigation and requests the video material that was shown on television during his televised statement, as well as any other information and documents that would assist the Tribunal in its ongoing pursuit of justice.”
In defense of the STL staff Bellemare was quoted as saying:
“the Prosecutor stated that “the staff of the OTP have been recruited on the basis of their professionalism, impartiality and expertise, and I have full confidence in their strong commitment to finding the truth”.
Here is the complete press release that was issued by STL in response to Nasrallah
In response to allegations made by Mr. Hassan Nasrallah in his speech of 2 July 2011, the Prosecutor stated that “the staff of the OTP have been recruited on the basis of their professionalism, impartiality and expertise, and I have full confidence in their strong commitment to finding the truth”.
The Prosecutor welcomes Mr. Nasrallah’s offer to provide the file that he stated he has on some elements of the investigation and requests the video material that was shown on television during his televised statement, as well as any other information and documents that would assist the Tribunal in its ongoing pursuit of justice.
The investigation is carried out according to the highest standards of international justice and its results are based solely on facts and credible evidence. The Prosecutor stated that “the staff of the OTP act independently and in good faith in their search for the truth”.
In seeking the release of the four generals in April 2009, the Prosecutor has already demonstrated that when he is not satisfied with the credibility or reliability of the evidence he will not hesitate to reject it.
In confirming the indictment on 28 June 2011, the Pre-Trial Judge ruled that he was satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to send the accused to trial for the attack of 14 February 2005.
The Prosecutor will not engage in a public debate in the media about the credibility of his investigation or of the investigative process. This is a judicial process and should be treated as such. In this context, the proper forum to challenge the investigation or the evidence gathered as a result, is in open court during a trial that will fully comply with international standards.
As has often been stated, justice is the guarantee of sustainable stability. The Prosecutor calls for all steps to be taken to bring the accused to justice.
STL confirmed the indictments in the assassination of Lebanon’s former PM Hariri on Thursday. An STL delegation met with Lebanon’s state prosecutor Said Mirza on Thursday and handed him a copy of the Lebanon portion of the indictment and the arrest warrants. Two of the suspects Mustafa Badreddine and Salim Ayyash are reportedly senior members of the Iranian and Syrian-backed Hezbollah while the other two Hezbollah members Hassan Aneissy, also known as Hassan Issa, and Assad Sabra played a supporting role in the execution of the assassination.
Lebanon has 30 days to find and arrest the suspects but Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said Saturday that the party would not cooperate with the tribunal.
“No Lebanese government will be able to carry out any arrests whether in 30 days, 30 years or even 300 years.”
“We reject the Special Tribunal for Lebanon along with each and every void accusation it issues, which to us is the equivalent of an attack against Hezbollah,” Nasrallah added in his hour-long speech.
Nasrallah admitted all the four suspects are Hezbollah members:
“The suspects named in the indictment are brothers who have an honorable history in resisting Israeli occupation.” He said
The whereabouts of the four remain unknown but some reports indicated that the two prime suspects in the assassination already fled to Iran.
Professor Ghassan Karam commented about Nasrallah’s defiance in an article in Ya Libnan: ” Nasrallah has acted as judge, jury and executioner. He has determined that his people are not guilty and that no one should dream of arresting any of them”.