STL Defense: Lebanon Failing to Cooperate with Tribunal

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

Lebanon has ignored repeated requests to cooperate with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon probing former Premier Rafik Hariri's 2005 murder, defense lawyers said Friday.

Lawyers also lambasted prosecutors before the tribunal for delays in handing over evidence they needed for the trial in absentia of four Hizbullah members accused of involvement with the bombing.

"The defense respectfully requests... that the judge order the Lebanese government to search for, identify and provide the material sought," said lawyers for Assad Sabra, one of the accused in a court document.

Beirut should "comply with the judge's order no more than four weeks" after the ruling, Sabra's lawyers added in the paper, made public by the court based in the leafy suburb of Leidschendam just outside The Hague.

Sabra's defense has written "multiple letters" to ask Beirut for help and although the Lebanese government responded, defense lawyers have not received any information to help their case.

"The Lebanese authorities have thus far given only a pretense of cooperation by acknowledging receipt of requests or seemingly addressing some, but no actual cooperation," his lawyers said in the document.

Information requested included Sabra's "last known whereabouts including any information that he may still be alive".

Hariri was killed on February 14, 2005 in a massive car bombing on the Beirut seafront along with another 22 people, including a suicide bomber.

The STL announced in July that the trial of four Hizbullah members would provisionally start on March 25 next year, even though the defendants are still at large.

Warrants have been issued against Salim Ayyash, 48, Mustafa Badreddine, 51, Hussein Oneissi 38, and Assad Sabra, 35, but Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has said the STL is a U.S.-Israeli conspiracy and vowed none of the suspects would be arrested.

Badreddine is accused of being the "brains" behind the attack while Ayyash allegedly coordinated the team.

Oneissi and Sabra allegedly made a videotape pretending another group had claimed responsibility for the attack, then sent the tape to Arab television network Al-Jazeera.

At Friday's hearing, defense lawyers also sharply criticized prosecutors, asking Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen to order the prosecution to disclose reports compiled by their experts.

"You must intervene please and order the prosecution to disclose these reports," in a timely fashion, said one of Ayyash's lawyers, Eugene O'Sullivan.

"We are doing our best, your Honor," regarding the reports, prosecutor Gregory Townsend told the judge.

Hizbullah denies involvement in the bombing that killed Hariri and was initially blamed on Syria. International outcry in the wake of the murder led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops from its smaller neighbor.

Regional turbulence including the uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime in Syria and the threat of that violence spilling over into Lebanon have led many to question the court's relevancy today.

Comments 8
Missing gabby5 28 September 2012, 17:41

This is because M8 criminals run the gov't.

Missing phillipo 28 September 2012, 17:43

If the government doesn't comply with the requests of the international court, what can they expect from the private individual?

Thumb shab 28 September 2012, 18:04

Filthy and shabby mps whom do not how to tie a tie cannot operate a laptop either

Thumb bigsami 28 September 2012, 18:40

Is anyone surprised? HA and it's control of the government through a subtle coup will never allow it to proceed because they totally know that they will be implicated BIG TIME as the murderers! SCUM Iranian militia that needs to be annihilated once & for all!

Thumb bigsami 28 September 2012, 18:44

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has said the STL is a U.S.-Israeli conspiracy and VOWED none of the suspects would be arrested.

You call yourself the leader of God's Party? Your nothing but a sewage rat hiding in caves who will face the almighty soon to be sent straight to hell!

Missing phillipo 29 September 2012, 14:31

Isn't it interesting, whatever happens in Lebanon, Nasrallah always blames Israel and the US.
I wonder when was the last time he looked in a mirror when blaming outsiders.

Thumb chrisrushlau 28 September 2012, 19:12

The defense should argue that the Lebanese government had no authority to enter into the deal to create the STL because it is not democratically elected, given the Taef Accord, just re-endorsed by Christian spokespeople, which gives the estimated quarter of Lebanese who are supposedly Christian half the seats in Parliament. This is illegal on its face.

Missing sergio 29 September 2012, 15:49

@ chrisrushlau and who are you to decide what is the best for the Christians? FYI Kiddo i f you never read history Christians were always & will always be the heart & the soul of Lebanon.