News / Middle East

    Hariri Tribunal Prosecutor Submits Indictments

    Court prosecutor Daniel Bellemare of Canada looks on during an opening ceremony of an international tribunal to prosecute suspects in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in Leidschendam, Netherlands (File Photo).
    Court prosecutor Daniel Bellemare of Canada looks on during an opening ceremony of an international tribunal to prosecute suspects in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in Leidschendam, Netherlands (File Photo).
    Margaret Besheer

    The chief prosecutor for the Tribunal investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri submitted his indictment to the pre-trial judge Monday at The Hague. The document was sealed and no suspects were identified. The long awaited action had little impact on the streets of the capital.

    For months, Lebanese have been anxiously awaiting this moment. But when Special Tribunal for Lebanon Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare delivered his indictment it was done under seal, so there is no new information on who was behind the 2005 truck bombing that killed the billionaire politician,Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, and 22 others along Beirut's seafront.

    Anticipation of the indictment from the UN-backed court, however, has thrown this tiny country into a political crisis, with ministers from the Shi'ite Hezbollah political wing pulling out of the cabinet last week and forcing the collapse of the year-old unity government of Saad Hariri, the slain prime minister's son.

    It is widely believed that the court will indict several members of Hezbollah.  Hezbollah Chief Hassan Nasrallah has dismissed the Tribunal as a tool of the West and warned Lebanese not to cooperate with it.  Hezbollah now says it will not accept a new prime minister willing to work with the court.

    Political consultations were due to begin Monday on forming a new government, but the president postponed them until at least next week.

    Shortly after that announcement, a brief statement came from The Hague saying the prosecutor had submitted an indictment and supporting materials to the pre-trial judge. The judge's review of those documents is expected to take several weeks.

    On the capital's bustling Hamra Street, life went on as normal. Jaded Lebanese say they are used to crises in their country and the fact that the court is moving forward, coupled with the collapse of the government, will not, as some analysts have warned, throw this multi-religious country back into conflict.

    Adnan al-Arab, 48, a taxi driver, says there is the Tribunal, there are accusations, but the politicians will resolve it among themselves. He says it does not concern us, we the Lebanese people are united.

    Mohammad, 51, a real estate entrepreneur, says the current situation will improve. He pointed to recent initiatives by Arab neighbors to try to calm political tensions, and says he thinks there will be Arab help to resolve the crisis before it escalates.

    Three university friends sitting outside at a coffee house on this mild winter evening expressed their indifference.  Ali, 24, noted that nothing has changed in Beirut since the government collapsed last week.

    His friend, Karim, 20, agreed and said even if the situation turns, the Lebanese will cope, they have a talent for that. "What happens, happens. We have to adapt," he said.

    Jad, 21, was more philosophical, saying, "Everyone in Lebanon, they live together each and every day. But when some political leaders decide that now we should have a fight, we have a fight. It's not spontaneous. People don't hate each other, they just follow their political leaders and what they say."

    On Monday evening after the indictment was transferred to the judge at The Hague, those usually vocal political leaders were unusually quiet and absent from their regular platforms on the evening news.

    You May Like

    Wife of IS Leader Charged in Death of US Hostage

    Suspect allegedly admitted to being responsible for American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who officials say was sexually abused and ‘owned’ by one IS member

    Year of the Monkey Could Prove Economic Balancing Act for China

    China is up against a tricky situation on the financial front, facing the need to fight capital flight while also stopping a further slide of foreign currency reserves

    Runners Attempt 26-mile South Pole Marathon in Sub-Zero Temperatures

    How alluring is running 26.2 miles at 10,000 feet when it’s minus 31 Celsius out?

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.