Bellemare Requests Video Material from Nasrallah, Defends Staff 'Impartiality'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Special Tribunal for Lebanon Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare on Monday hit back at Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah over the latter’s recent televised address in which he doubted the impartiality of the staff of Bellemare’s office.
“The staff of the OTP have been recruited on the basis of their professionalism, impartiality and expertise, and I have full confidence in their strong commitment to finding the truth,” Bellemare said in a statement.
“The Prosecutor welcomes Mr. Nasrallah’s offer to provide the file that he stated he has on some elements of the investigation and requests the video material that was shown on television during his televised statement, as well as any other information and documents that would assist the Tribunal in its ongoing pursuit of justice,” Bellemare added.
He stressed that “the investigation is carried out according to the highest standards of international justice and its results are based solely on facts and credible evidence.”
“The staff of the OTP act independently and in good faith in their search for the truth,” the prosecutor went on to say.
“In seeking the release of the Four Generals in April 2009, the Prosecutor has already demonstrated that when he is not satisfied with the credibility or reliability of the evidence he will not hesitate to reject it,” he added.
Bellemare also stressed that he “will not engage in a public debate in the media about the credibility of his investigation or of the investigative process,” noting that “the proper forum to challenge the investigation or the evidence gathered as a result, is in open court during a trial that will fully comply with international standards.”
“Justice is the guarantee of sustainable stability,” the prosecutor added, calling for all steps to be taken to “bring the accused to justice.”
Nasrallah on Saturday ruled out the arrest of four members of his party indicted by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon for the 2005 assassination of Lebanese former premier Rafik Hariri.
In his first reaction to the charges by the STL, Nasrallah also rejected "each and every void accusation" made by the Netherlands-based court, which he said was heading for a trial in absentia.
The STL on Thursday handed Lebanon's Prosecutor General Saeed Mirza arrest warrants for four members of Hizbullah in connection with the February 14, 2005 bombing that killed Hariri and 22 others in Beirut.
Nasrallah went on to accuse top investigators at the tribunal, including the first U.N. chief investigator, Detlev Mehlis, and his deputy, Gerhard Lehmann, of corruption.
In elaborately edited segments, Al-Manar television aired footage which Nasrallah said showed Lehmann receiving a wad of cash in exchange for documents in the Hariri case.
Al-Manar also aired a document which Nasrallah said proved investigators had transferred IT equipment across Lebanon's southern border into Israel when it moved its staff to the Netherlands in 2009.
"Do you expect this tribunal to be fair with resistance fighters who fought against Israel?" he said. "This tribunal, since the beginning, was formed for a clear political target."