Lebanon’s Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai criticized on Monday those political parties that claim the Special tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is politicized by saying they should provide evidence of its politicization before making such accusations.
“We don’t accept a fake or politicized court,” Rai told reporters at Bkirki. “But should we describe it as politicized just because we oppose it?” he asked
“Evidence should be provided about its politicization or else the tribunal remains the only side that achieves justice” in former PM Rafik Hariri’s Feb. 2005 assassination case, the Patriarch stressed.
“Our problem is that everything is politicized. They could even politicize God,” Rai said
“If there is no tribunal, who will protect the people and who will protect us? Is disagreeing with the court enough to accuse it of politicization?” Rai was quoted as asking by National News Agency.
“ The Church wants justice to be served and the truth to be uncovered,” the patriarch said in a reference to past assassinations against Lebanese public figures.
He also called for “separating politics from the judiciary.”
STL confirmed the indictments in the assassination of Lebanon’s former PM Hariri on June 30. An STL delegation met with State prosecutor 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 accusing it of being politicized.
“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 on Saturday indicated that they are no longer in Lebanon and one of them has reportedly 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 two 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.
Former minister Wiam Wahhab a staunch ally of Hezbollah and Syria told LBC on Monday that Hezbollah will not hand over the people indicted by STL , adding that “everyone should know that the feet of Resistance members are worth more than all the tribunal judges.”