Former Chief Investigator Confirms Concrete Evidence in Hariri Murder

Former chief U.N. investigator Nick Kaldas stressed that there is solid evidence and concrete facts in the assassination case of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The STL “isn’t politicized and the case is based on concrete evidence,” Kaldas told An Nahar newspaper on Monday.

The Deputy Commissioner of the New South Wales Police in Australia revealed that the indictment wasn’t extensively based on the telecoms evidence, saying there is more evidence that would convict the accused - Salim Ayyash, Mustafa Badreddine, Hussein Oneissi, and Assad Sabra- who are Hizbullah members.

“Only the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is authorized with revealing any information on the evidence,” said Kaldas, who served in 2008 as chief investigator probing the Feb. 14, 2005 assassination of Hariri in a suicide car bombing along with 22 other people including the bomber.

Kaldas urged the four suspects to appear before the court and defend themselves against the accusations if they “consider themselves innocent.”

He stressed that his work with the STL was “transparent, unbiased and not politicized.”

However, he admitted to some flaws during the first four years of the tribunal’s work.

“The truth is that even if the four accused were not detained, justice will take place,” Kaldas said.

He told An Nahar that the court ended the era of impunity in Lebanon.

Asked about Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s claims in July 2011 that he acted as a "stooge for Israel and the CIA,” Kaldas ruled out these allegations, saying: “It’s a lie.”

“I’ve never visited Israel and I don’t know anyone there… I don’t expect from him to compliment me as I led the investigations and my decisions were the main reason behind the indictment” against the four suspects, Kaldas said.

He praised the work of the STL, describing it as a “professional tribunal that is working according to international justice principles.”

Kaldas is convinced that the case condemns Hizbullah, hoping that the “group” would accept the results of the trials and investigation.

“They would be proud if (they let justice take its course)… If they didn’t they would be acting against their best interests,” Kaldas noted.

Nasrallah has continuously defended the four men accused in the case, describing them as honorable men who fought gallantly in the resistance against the Israeli occupation of south Lebanon.

He has said that the four would never be apprehended but tried in absentia instead.

Concerning the possibility of his assassination, Kaldas said that his murder “will not change the work of the tribunal or remove the evidence… My assassination will not resolve their problem.”

Michael Taylor succeeded Kaldas at the end of his contract on Feb, 28 2010 to return to resume his duties as Deputy Commissioner of the NSW Police.

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