Naharnet

STL Registrar Says Accused Names May Be Made Public in '6 to 10 Weeks'

The arrest warrants in the Hariri murder would be activated "in cooperation with the government of Beirut, which is obligated to extradite -- if necessary with the help of other states," Special Tribunal for Lebanon Registrar Herman von Hebel has said.

In an interview with the online version of German weekly Der Spiegel, von Hebel said it is likely the names contained in the arrest warrants will be made public in "six to 10 weeks" and that a trial could start as soon as the beginning of September.

"If necessary, a trial without the presence of the defendants would be conceivable, the statutes allow us to judge in absentia," he said.

Hizbullah and its allies on January 12 brought down the government of Saad Hariri after a long-running standoff over the STL probe into the 2005 assassination of ex-premier Rafik Hariri, Saad's father.

Hizbullah has said it believes members of the party will be implicated by the Netherlands-based court, which it has denounced as part of a U.S.-Israeli conspiracy.

On January 17, STL Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare submitted a confidential draft indictment in Rafik Hariri's murder to STL Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen, who will confirm the charges before any arrest warrant is issued.


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