Lebanon tribunal to add new indictment

Lebanon's prime minister said on Monday he expected a new indictment to be issued this month by the international tribunal investigating political attacks in the country, including the killing of statesman Rafik al-Hariri.

Daniel Bellemare, prosecutor at the UN-backed tribunal investigating Hariri's assassination on Feb. 14, 2005, has issued an indictment against four fugitive Hezbollah suspects.

He is due to step down as prosecutor at the end of February.

"The general prosecutor Bellemare told me during his final visit to Lebanon that before he leaves he will issue a kind of update to the indictments," Najib Mikati told Lebanon's LBC television in an interview.

The powerful Shi'ite guerrilla movement Hezbollah has denied any role in the attack and says the suspects will never be handed over to the court which it says is politically motivated.

The tribunal said two weeks ago the suspects would be tried in absentia.

The UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon investigating Hariri's killing has also announced it would look into three other attacks. A source close to the tribunal said the court would likely issue an indictment by the end of February.

"Yes, we are awaiting some kind of update to the indictments, which will have something to do with the ministers Elias al-Murr and Marwan Hamadeh and (politician) George Hawi," Mikati said.

In August, the STL said it would pursue investigations into three bomb attacks it believes are connected to the blast that killed Hariri in 2005. It ordered Lebanese authorities to hand over information about the attacks and assassinations attempts on Hamadeh, Murr and Hawi.

Hamadeh is a former telecoms minister who survived an assassination attempt in 2004. Murr, a former deputy prime minister and defence minister, was wounded in a 2005 bombing.

Hawi was killed in Beirut by a bomb in his car in 2005. The former Communist Party chief was a critic of neighbouring Syria, which maintained a 29-year military presence in Lebanon and is still accused by opponents of meddling in the country.

 

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