STL prosecutor: Too early to begin a trial in abstentia


Special Tribunal for Lebanon prosecutor Daniel Bellemare said Tuesday that it is too early to begin a trial in absentia against the four accused Hezbollah members.

He demanded That the Lebanese authorities should be heard in the Trial Chamber.

The Lebanese government has so far failed to arrest Salim Ayyash, Mustafa Badreddine, Hussein Aneissy, and Assad Sabra, all wanted in the February 2005 murder of Hariri and 22 others.

Close to 60 people either wounded or harmed in the 2005 bomb attack that killed Hariri have applied to participate in the trials of those accused of the crime, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon said last Tuesday.

“Either not enough time has been allowed for the Lebanese authorities to effect the arrests of the four accused or they are not willing to do so “, Bellemare said adding that ” the Trial Chamber must invite the Lebanese authorities to be heard and to provide evidence.”

The Iranian and Syrian -backed Hezbollah brought down former PM Saad Hariri’s government on January 12 over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s (STL) imminent indictment.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon issued the indictments and arrest warrants on June 30. Two of the suspects Badreddine and Ayyash are reportedly senior members of Hezbollah and played leading roles in the assassination while the other two Hezbollah members Hassan Aneissy and Assad Sabra played a supporting role in the execution of the assassination.

Lebanon had 30 days to find and arrest the suspects but Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said 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.” Nasrallah said



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