News / Middle East

UN Lebanon Tribunal Indicts 4 in Hariri Assassination

Lebanese women pass by a giant portrait of slain Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri near his grave, in downtown Beirut, June 30, 2011
Lebanese women pass by a giant portrait of slain Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri near his grave, in downtown Beirut, June 30, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
  • Interview with Nadim Houry, Human Rights Watch in Beirut

Al Pessin

The United Nations Special Tribunal for Lebanon has presented arrest warrants and indictments for four men, believed to be affiliated with Hezbollah, for their alleged roles in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri six years ago.

VOA's Susan Yackee speaks with Nadim Houry, with Human Rights Watch in Beirut, about the development:

Tribunal officials delivered the indictments and warrants Thursday to Lebanon’s state prosecutor in Beirut. The prosecutor now has 30 days to take action, and if he does not, the Tribunal can publish the documents.

In a televised speech, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati asked for calm in what he called a “sensitive time” for his country.

Call to unite

Mikati called on the Lebanese people to unite in “a new reality,” and to make learning the truth a priority, “in spite of anything.”

He said the indictments should be dealt with “realistically and responsibly.” And he also cautioned that indictments are not convictions, and that all those accused are innocent until proven guilty.

The U.N. Tribunal has long been expected to indict members of Hezbollah, which has denied any involvement in the truck bombing that killed Hariri and 22 other people in 2005.

Hezbollah is the most powerful political movement in Lebanon, and it forced the fall of the government led by Hariri’s son, Saad, in January, when the Tribunal first moved to issue indictments. Hezbollah and its allies hold a majority of seats in the current Lebanese Cabinet.  Western nations consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization, and say it is heavily influenced by Syria and Iran.

Concerns of reprisals

Some news reports suggest the indictments could spark new attacks by Hezbollah and plunge Lebanon into a new and deeper political crisis.

Nadim Shehadi of London’s Royal Institute of International Affairs said there is concern about violence, but he disagrees with predictions of chaos in Lebanese politics and society.

“The impact will be minimal because this is something that has been expected and anticipated for the last two, three years," said Shehadi. "And all the crises that Lebanon has gone through were related to it. So, it’s like the moment of impact has been amortized.”

Shehadi said that until recently, many Lebanese saw the U.N. Tribunal as interference in their country’s internal affairs, and might have reacted angrily to these indictments. But he said things have changed in Lebanon, as they have elsewhere in the region, with concepts like ‘accountability’ and ‘justice’ taking on new meaning and importance.

“It involves, for the first time in the whole region, the introduction of accountability to such crimes," said Shehadi. "So you are really changing the modus operandi of the whole region with this. The idea of international justice and accountability is much more accepted in the region because of what happened in Tunis, in Egypt. There is a change in atmosphere, and this is part of the change.”

Syria's role

But Shehadi acknowledges it is a long way from Thursday’s sealed indictments to actual punishment for Hariri’s killers. He said the process will take a long time, and will be opposed by Syria, which has considerable influence in Lebanon.

He said Syrian leaders are concerned about any development that promotes accountability and might lend credibility to their country’s opposition movement, which is facing a violent crackdown by Syrian government forces.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid