Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Seven African countries' economies at risk over Brexit decision

Read more

THE DEBATE

Britain votes out: What next?

Read more

#TECH 24

The 'fintech' revolution

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

A certified 'palace': How hotels strive for excellence

Read more

#THE 51%

In her own image: Women in Art

Read more

REPORTERS

World War I: When northern France was on German time

Read more

REVISITED

Video: Ugandan city still scarred by Lord's Resistance Army atrocities

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

#Brexit sparks a storm on social media

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Markets, pound plunge on Brexit vote

Read more

Our Focus programme brings you exclusive reports from around the world. From Monday to Friday at 7.45 am Paris time.

FOCUS

FOCUS

Latest update : 2010-04-29

Still no justice for Rafiq Hariri

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon started investigating the assassination of Rafiq Hariri in March 2009. While the finger of blame was initially pointed at Syria in the aftermath of the former Lebanese Prime Minister's death in 2005, no-one has ever been charged - though rumours are still rife, both about Syria and its ally, Hezbollah.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, charged with trying the assassins of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, killed in February 2005, was launched more than a year ago in The Hague. But despite the fact that just a few months after the assassination the first investigative commission suggested that evidence pointed the finger at Syria, the tribunal has still charged no suspects.

In Lebanon, people are getting impatient and above all, worried. According to journalists who say they have been party to leaks from the tribunal, members of Hezbollah could be implicated in the crime. Any future charge against members of the Shiite party, a pillar of the Lebanese opposition that is supported by Iran and Syria, could revive tensions in a country where the equilibrium is fragile.

The spokesperson for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Fatima El Issawi, declines to comment on the investigation, but says it is normal when no accusations have been made. "It’s important to differentiate between international investigative commissions and the prosecutor’s office, charged with providing evidence", she says. Furthermore, this is a particularly complex crime.

The enquiry is being conducted in top secret, but rumours abound. Several media reports have alleged in the past few months that members of Hezbollah could be implicated in the crime. Recently, the Secretary-General of the Party of God, Hassan Nasrallah, dismissed these accusations as politically motivated speculation. But he acknowledged that Hezbollah members were summoned, although solely as witnesses, by the prosecutor’s office.

Even if they are only rumours, they are rumours that worry the Lebanese people. Rafiq Hariri was Sunni. Hezbollah is Shiite. Relations between the two communities are already tense. In May 2008, armed clashes between Sunnis and Shiites killed dozens of people across the country. For Lebanese legal experts, it’s essential to avoid generalisations. "The tribunal is there to judge people implicated in the crime and not parties, groups or confessional communities", explains Father Fady Fadel, a lawyer.

All the experts agree that the tribunal must not be perceived as a political tool, but rather as an independent institution with the sole aim of judging Hariri’s killers. They also say that whatever happens, the process is heading towards a conclusion.

By Lucy FIELDER

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2016-06-23 UK

Like it or not, immigration is Brexit's central topic

Immigration seems to be the most contentious topic in today's so-called "Brexit" referendum in the UK. A record number of people arrived in the UK in 2014, although bringing...

Read more

2016-06-22 UK

Brexit could lead to second Scottish independence referendum

With just one day to go before the UK's referendum on EU membership, we head to Scotland. Party leaders there support the "Remain" camp, and polls suggest most Scots will vote to...

Read more

2016-06-21 Mayotte

French island of Mayotte on verge of collapse

The Indian Ocean island of Mayotte has been a department of France since 2011, but locals feel abandoned by the country's central authorities. After more than two weeks of...

Read more

2016-06-20 France

French city near Spanish border offers safe haven for refugees

To mark World Refugee Day, we take a look at a city in the French Basque country that's taken a pro-active stance in providing support to refugees, mostly Syrians, who have fled...

Read more

2016-06-17 Belgium

Is Belgium becoming a failed state?

Belgium's image has taken a hit worldwide in recent months. From jihadist cells in the district of Molenbeek to the failure to prevent the Paris and Brussels terror attacks,...

Read more