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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Lebanon tribunal head says Hariri probe on track
Jonathan Cohen at 11:03 AM ET

[JURIST] The head of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) [official website; JURIST news archive] Friday reassured [press release] the Lebanese public that the investigation is on track. When asked about the progress of the investigation into the death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive], the head of the STL

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 [JURIST report] who had been held on suspicion of their involvement in the death of Hariri. Earlier this month, STL pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen ordered [UN News Centre report] prosecutor Daniel Bellemare [Ya Libnan profile] 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 [JURIST report] 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 [JURIST report]. The investigation into the assassination has been extended past its original anticipated end date and expanded [JURIST reports] to cover other assassinations in the country. Several reports from the International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) [authorizing resolution; UN materials], also headed by Bellemare, have implicated Syrian officials [JURIST report] in Hariri's death.

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