The UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) on June 30 released to Lebanese authorities an indictment with four arrest warrants in relation to the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri. The warrants were issued for Mustafa Badreddine, Salim al-Ayyash, Hasan Aineysseh and Asad Sabra, who are alleged members of Hezbollah. Lebanon has 30 days to arrest the suspects before the STL personally summons them and makes the indictment public. In a press conference, Prime Minister Najib Mikati stated that “the indictments, from whatever source, [are] not sentences, and the charges need to contain compelling evidence beyond any doubt, and that every defendant is innocent until proven guilty.” Many have interpreted this statement as an indication that Hezbollah members will not be arrested. Although Mikati was endorsed in the election by Hezbollah, he said he will not “take sides.”
In February, the appeals chamber of the STL issued a unanimous ruling on several procedural issues, including the definition of terrorism, in judicial proceedings. The STL began debate on the issue to determine which laws to apply in the case against persons accused of involvement in the February 2005 truck bomb that killed Hariri and 22 other people. Last August, Hezbollah submitted evidence to the STL linking Israel with the bombing. The STL asked for the evidence a week earlier after Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Nasrallah claimed to have proof that Israel was behind the bombing. The STL was established in 2005 at the request of the Lebanese government to try those alleged to be connected to the bombing in which Hariri was killed by explosions detonated near his motorcade in Beirut.
From Jurist, June 30. Used with permission.
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