Lebanon tribunal to investigate bomb attacks related to Hariri case

[JURIST] The UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) [official website] announced Friday that it will investigate three additional bomb attacks [press release] that may be connected to the February 2005 attack that killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The STL has established jurisdiction over the June 2005 assassination of anti-Syria politician George Hawi, the July 2005 attempted assassination of Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Elias Murr and the October 2004 attempted assassination of lawmaker Marwan Hamadeh [orders, PDF] in October 2004. The rulings do not mean that an indictment will necessarily be issued, but they allow the prosecutor to continue investigating. The STL did not offer any details on how the attacks may be connected.

On Wednesday, the STL unsealed the indictment [JURIST report] against four alleged Hezbollah [CFR backgrounder] members accused of assassinating Hariri. Last week, the STL president made a public plea for the four men to turn themselves in [JURIST report]. Judge Antonio Cassese guaranteed a fair trial and adequate representation and pressed Lebanese citizens to allow the STL to hold the assassins accountable. In February, the appeals chamber of the STL issued a unanimous ruling [summary, PDF] 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. 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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