Hariri probe on track at the STL

(Jurist) Following a visit to Lebanon, the President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), Judge Antonio Cassese, and the Vice-President, Judge Ralph Riachy, had issued a statement reassuring that the investigation into the death of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri is on track.

The statement underlined the fact that the Tribunal already has in place all the legal and administrative instruments necessary for its work, and is fully operational so that justice may be dispensed with complete independence and impartiality in accordance with the highest international standards.

The STL has also agreed to set up a liaison to assist in communications with Lebanon and also to implement decisions and orders in the state.

In April, a judge for the tribunal ordered the release of four generals who had been held on suspicion of their involvement in the death of Hariri. Earlier this month, STL pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen ordered prosecutor Daniel Bellemare to submit either a reasoned request for the continued detention of the four generals or a declination thereof. A Lebanese judge ordered the transfer of documents relating to Hariri’s assassination to the STL early this month, thereby granting sole jurisdiction over the case against the four accused generals to the tribunal. In March 2008, lead prosecutor Bellamare said he believed a criminal network was behind the assassination. Several reports from the International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC), also headed by Bellemare, have implicated Syrian officials in Hariri’s death.

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