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Lebanon tribunal says authorities have reported back on Hariri probe

The UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) [official website] announced on Tuesday that Lebanese authorities reported to the tribunal [press release] on their efforts to search for and arrest four men wanted for killing former prime minister Rafik Hariri [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Arrest warrants were issued [JURIST report] in June for Mustafa Badreddine, Salim al-Ayyash, Hasan Aineysseh and Asad Sabra, who are alleged members [Lebanon Daily Star report] of Hezbollah [CFR backgrounder]. In his report, the Lebanese Prosecutor General told the tribunal that authorities have not yet detained any of the suspects. Judge Antonio Cassese, president of the STL, is expected to review the report and determine how to proceed with the warrants. Lebanon is obligated under the UN Security Council Resolution 1757 [text, PDF; JURIST report] to arrest, detain and transfer the suspects to STL custody.

In February, the appeals chamber of the STL issued a unanimous ruling [summary, PDF; press release] on several procedural issues, including the definition of terrorism [JURIST report], in judicial proceedings. The STL began debate on the issue [JURIST report] 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. Using the Article 314 of the Lebanese Criminal Code [text, PDF], the court held that a conviction on the charge of terrorism requires proof of an act intended to spread terror and use of a means "liable to create a public danger," that the only requirement is that "the means used to carry out the terrorist attack be liable to create a common danger" and that the trial judges should be given latitude in determining whether the requirement was met after having considered the facts presented in the case. Last August, Hezbollah submitted evidence to the STL [JURIST report] linking Israel with the bombing. The STL asked for the evidence [JURIST report] a week earlier after Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah [BBC profile] 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.

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