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Middle east

UN tribunal asks for Hariri case files

Latest update : 2009-04-02

A UN court on Wednesday asked Lebanon to hand over the case on the 2005 murder of prime minister Rafiq Hariri (pictured) and furnish documents linked to the probe within two weeks.

AFP - A UN tribunal on Wednesday called on Lebanon to hand over the case involving the 2005 murder of prime minister Rafiq Hariri and transfer documents linked to the probe within two weeks.
  
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which began work on March 1, also said Beirut should provide a list of those detained in connection with the killing.
  
The detainees should continue to be held until a decision on whether they will be transferred to the UN court is made, it said.
  
The ruling dated March 27 and made public Wednesday "requests the Lebanese judicial authority seized with the Hariri case to defer to the tribunal’s competence in this case."
  
It also asks Lebanese authorities to "as soon as possible and at the latest within 14 days of receiving this order, refer to the prosecutor the results of the investigation and a copy of the court’s records regarding the Hariri case".
  
Last week, the Canadian chief prosecutor at the UN court, Daniel Bellemare, asked that the Hariri case be moved to the tribunal.
  
The attack in Beirut that killed Hariri was one of the worst acts of political violence to rock Lebanon since its 1975-1990 civil war and led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops after a 29-year presence.
  
In the months following the Hariri murder, Beirut arrested four Lebanese generals as suspects and they have remained in custody. The four generals include the former head of the presidential guard.
  
Three civilians suspected of withholding information and misleading the ongoing probe were recently freed on bail.
  
A UN investigative commission has said there was evidence that Syrian and Lebanese intelligence services were involved in Hariri's killing. Damascus has consistently denied any involvement in the attack and in the killings of several other anti-Syrian politicians since 2005.
  
In its early stages, the UN probe implicated top officials close to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
  
In an interview published last week in Lebanon's As-Safir newspaper, the Syrian president said Damascus had no information about the murder.
  
"From a security point of view, we do not have any intelligence on the matter," Assad was quoted as saying.
  
"We cooperated with the investigators of the (UN) commission, but we do not have any pertinent information," Assad said of the panel created after Hariri's death in the bombing that also killed another 22 people.
  
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon was the first international terrorist court, created by a United Nations Security Council resolution in 2007.
  
It has an initial, renewable, three-year mandate and 11 judges, four of them Lebanese.
  
Hariri's son, Saad, hailed the opening of the court as a historic day for Lebanon last month.
  
"Today the flag of justice for Lebanon is being raised in The Hague. It is a historic date," he said at the time.

Date created : 2009-04-02

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