The Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s Trial Chamber decided on Tuesday to ask Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt and journalist Ali Mohammed Hamadeh to testify as witnesses in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
The president of the trial chamber, reportedly ruled that Jumblatt’s evidence, which will cover the breakdown of relations between Hariri and Syrian President Bashar Assad, was relevant to the case and could help clarify the motive behind the assassination.
The Judges also allowed the prosecution to summon Ali Hamade, a journalist at An-Nahar newspaper and confidante of Hariri, to testify. Ali is the brother of MP Marwan Hamadeh , a former economy minister and adviser to the assassinated PM Rafik Hariri and who survived an assassination attempt in October 2004 for which Syria was blamed.
Marwan concluded his testimony before the court yesterday in which Jumblatt’s name was frequently mentioned .
Jumblatt, a close ally of Hariri, has indicated in the past that he would be willing to testify before the U.N.-backed tribunal.
Al-Akhbar newspaper which is closely linked to Hezbollah and the Syrian regime reported last Thursday that Jumblatt was already in the hague testifying in front of the court but Jumblatt quickly denied the report stressing in a tweet that he would go to the STL if he was asked to.
STL was established to prosecute those responsible for the 2005 bombing that killed Hariri and 21 others and led to protests that ended Syria’s tutelage . Five members of Hezbollah have been indicted in the case, but prosecutors are now focusing on Syria’s role in destabilizing Lebanon ahead of the assassination.
In concluding his testimony before the court MP Marwan Hamadeh told the judges that Syria’s intelligence chief ordered Lebanese police to close the investigation into the car bombing that almost killed him because either Israel did it or he “did it to himself,”
He said that then-Internal Security Forces chief Marwan al-Zein told him that the order to close the investigation came from Syria’s military intelligence chief in Lebanon, Rustom Ghazaleh.
Ghazaleh reportedly told Zein that the investigation was a waste of time because either Israel was responsible or Hamade had orchestrated the bombing himself.