Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

"The pen is mightier than the sword"

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Requiem for a recorder

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Russia targets McDonald's over tensions with West

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola: Liberian authorities admit 17 patients are missing

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing Foley execution images

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

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

2014-08-19 Gaza Strip

Israel's minorities and military service

We look at how Israel's religious minorities feel about military service. At the end of last month - three weeks after the latest conflict with militants in Gaza started - Israel...

Read more

2014-08-20 tourism

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Spain's Canary Isles are a popular tourist destination offering year-round sun, sea and sand. But they could be about to gain a new string to their bow as a sustainable energy...

Read more

2014-08-18 religion

South Korea: The Catholic Church's Asian Tiger

We head to South Korea, where Pope Francis has just wrapped up a five-day visit. A pope hadn't set foot in the country for a quarter of a century. Yet Catholicism is thriving in...

Read more

2014-08-15 Thailand

Buddhism: Growing number of Westerners seek out spiritual retreat

Buddhism, which originated some 2,500 years ago in South Asia, is attracting more followers every day. Now even a growing number of Westerners are giving up their worldly...

Read more

2014-08-14 Ebola

Liberia struggles to cope with Ebola epidemic

In West Africa, the Ebola virus has killed more than 1,000 people across four countries, with Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone worst hit. The Liberian government has accepted...

Read more