Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Towards a "Third Intifada"?

Read more

FOCUS

What solutions for California's overcrowded prisons?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza conflict: Palestinians mark sombre Eid

Read more

WEB NEWS

Celebrities in the Israel-Gaza crossfire

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Israeli strike takes out Gaza power station

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Last-ditch talks aim to avert Argentina default

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

2014-07-30 crime

What solutions for California's overcrowded prisons?

California has more inmates than any other US state - some 150,000 - and the reincarceration rate is the highest in the country, at 65%. Ordered by Supreme Court judges to reduce...

Read more

2014-07-29 Islam

Pakistan's Ahmadis living in fear of extremist attacks

As Muslims across the world celebrate the end of Ramadan, we look at the persecution suffered by Pakistan's Ahmadis. They consider themselves Muslim, but many Pakistanis see them...

Read more

2014-07-28 France

As France’s Carrefour pulls out, what next for India’s retail market?

French supermarket giant Carrefour announced earlier this month it is giving up on one of the world’s biggest consumer markets by closing its operations in India. Carrefour wants...

Read more

2014-07-25 immigration

Many Turks angry over Syrian refugee situation

According to the UNHCR 2.5 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries since the conflict there began. Over 800 000 of them are now in Turkey. Ankara has maintained an...

Read more

2014-07-24 Ukraine

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

As early as the late 19th Century Crimea has lived off tourism. But the annexation of the peninsula by Russia, using military force, has already had an impact on the 2014 season....

Read more