Interior Minister: Only Mirza can order arrests of STL indictees


Lebanese Minister of Interior and Municipalities Marwan Charbel told NBN TV on Sunday that the cabinet cannot order the arrest of those indicted by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), adding that the final authority in the issue belongs to State Prosecutor Judge Said Mirza Said Mirza.

The cabinet will not interfere in Mirza’s work, Charbel told NBN, adding that the government “is in politics and not security.”

The judiciary has the final authority over giving the order to arrest anyone, Charbel also said.

STL confirmed the indictments in the assassination of Lebanon’s former PM Hariri on June 30. An STL delegation met with Judge Mirza 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 during a speech on July 2 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 a report yesterday indicated that they are no longer in Lebanon and one of them has already been killed. No details were available on who got killed and by whom and the country they fled too. A report last week indicated that the 2 senior Hezbollah members are already in Tehran.

“My only advice to those charged is that they should consult a lawyer as soon as possible…Now is the time for defense.” Roux, the head of the Defense Office of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon said last week in addressing the four Hezbollah members who were indicted in the 2005 assassination of the former Lebanese PM

Earlier on Sunday STL announced that INTERPOL had already circulated the arrest warrants for the four Hezbollah suspects in the bombing.