News

Hariri Tribunal Opens in The Hague

The international tribunal created to try the suspected assassins of veteran former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al Hariri in 2005 has officially opened in The Hague.  High-ranking U.N. and international figures were present at the opening ceremony. UN special prosecutor Daniel says he will ask Lebanon to hand over four pro-Syrian generals held in connection with the assassination.

The Special Tribune for Lebanon began its first official day of operations, as registrar Robin Vincent called for a moment of silence to honor slain former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al Hariri and other victims, killed alongside him in a powerful explosion on Beirut's seafront boulevard, in February 2005.

The tribunal had taken months to set up and months to find donors to fund its operations.  Hariri's political allies, friends, family and supporters attending the opening session looked pleased as Vincent told them the victims and their families were a "chief motivation" for the tribunal's existence.

"Whilst the tribunal exists for many reasons, we should never lose sight of one of the principle reasons for its existence: the suffering of the victims and their families.  In the end, we are not here for the United Nations, nor are we here for the international community, but for Lebanon.  We are not here for the perpetrators of crimes, but for the victims of crimes.  And, above all and very simply, we are not here for ourselves, we are here for others," Vincent said.

VIPs, diplomats and journalists also attended the session at the tribunal's new home in what was once Dutch intelligence headquarters near The Hague.

The tribunal's chief prosecutor Daniel Bellemarre told Lebanon's Future TV, which is owned by the family of Rafiq al Hariri that he would "spare no effort to find the truth behind Mr. Hariri's killing ..." and that he would do "everything legally possible to bring (the killers) to justice."

In Beirut, supporters of Hariri and key allies from the governing March 14th coalition, gathered at Beirut's Martyr's Square, to lay a wreath at Mr. Hariri's tomb, and to remember him and other victims of a series of political assassinations.

Druze politician and former minister Marwan Hamadeh, who was also victim of a botched assassination attempt in 2004 that he accuses Syria of masterminding, hailed the tribunal's launch.

"It is the beginning of truth, the beginning of justice and I think that it is a page that is being opened in the history of Lebanon, the page of Justice, the end of impunity and it is a lesson for many regimes around us in the Middle East," Hamadeh said.

Journalist May Chidiac, a fervent opponent of Syria, who was also the victim of a car-bomb explosion that left her maimed, hoped that the tribunal would bring an end to the era of impunity for such crimes.

"We have suffered too much from killing and killing attempts and the explosions that were put here and there for many decades so now we hope this chapter will be over and will be closed," Chidiac said.

The tribunal was launched by the U.N. Security Council in June 2007 and has a three-year mandate, which may be renewed. The names of its panel of 11 judges, four of whom are Lebanese, are being kept secret for security reasons.

Many top Lebanese leaders, including Saad Hariri, son of the slain former prime minister, have accused Syria of involvement in his killing, a charge Damascus has steadfastly denied.






This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs