STL sets provisional January date for Hariri murder trial


tribunal for the sake of lebanonThe UN-backed Special Tribunal For Lebanon ( STL) is set to try the killers of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri on in January 2014.

“The pre-trial Judge at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon today issued an order setting 13 January 2014 as a new tentative date for the start of the trial,” STL said in a statement.

Four members of militant Shiite group Hezbollah are facing trial in absentia for the devastating 2005 Beirut seafront bombing that killed former PM Hariri and 22 others, including a suicide bomber.

STL which is based in The Hague, said that the start date for the much-delayed trial “could change based on judicial developments.”

The trial was due to start last March but was postponed after defense lawyers said that prosecutors had not yet given them all the relevant information to prepare their cases.

“Most of these issues have since been addressed,” judges had now decided, the court said.
Suspects in hariri murder
The STL issued warrants against the accused the four Hezbollah suspects: Mustafa  Amine Badreddine, 52, Salim  Jamil Ayyash, 49, Hussein Oneissi, 39, and Assad  Hassan Sabra, 36 — in June 2011 and Interpol issued a “red notice” for the suspects, but so far none has been arrested.

Badreddine is a Hezbollah commander who also is the suspected bomb maker in the 1983 blast at the US Marines barracks in Beirut that killed 241 Americans.

Hezbollah has denied any responsibility for the attack, and its leader Hassan Nasrallah has dismissed the tribunal as a US-Israeli conspiracy, vowing that none of the suspects will be arrested.

Set up by a UN resolution in 2007 at Lebanon’s request to probe Hariri’s death, the STL is the first court of its kind to deal with terrorism as a distinct crime.