News / Middle East

UN-Backed Tribunal for Lebanon Sets Rules

Overview of the courtroom of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) in The Hague, which is investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri Netherlands, January 14, 2011
Overview of the courtroom of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) in The Hague, which is investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri Netherlands, January 14, 2011

A U.N.-backed tribunal investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has issued some key guidelines for prosecution of the case.

The Netherlands-based tribunal is following Lebanese legal procedures.  But the presiding judge, Antonio Cassese, ruled Wednesday that the court would apply a broader interpretation of Lebanon's terrorism law than Lebanese judges.  

Lebanon defines terrorism as all acts intended to cause a state of terror -- including the use of explosive devices, inflammable materials, toxic products and infectious agents.

A truck bombing in Beirut killed Rafik Hariri and 22 other people five years ago.

A sealed draft indictment submitted by prosecutors is believed to implicate members of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Mr. Hariri's son Saad became prime minister in 2009, but was forced out of power last month in a political dispute over the tribunal.  He remains temporarily in office while his successor, Hezbollah-backed Najib Mikati, forms a new government.

Meantime, Hezbollah's chief Hassan Nasrallah has warned Israel's leaders that the militant group is ready to avenge the death of a Hezbollah operative killed three years ago in a car bombing that the militant group blames on Israel.

He told Israeli generals to, in his words, "watch out" -- saying the blood of the operative Imad Mughniyeh will not be wasted.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to another Nasrallah threat to conquer the Israeli territory of Galilee.  Mr. Netanyahu said "I have news for him.  He won't."

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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