Tribunal Upping Pressure on Hezbollah Members

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has decided to publically publish the identities of four Hezbollah men suspected of being involved in the murder. In statements posted in late July on the Tribunal’s website, the decision was described as increasing the chances of the suspects being identified and caught. The move comes as Lebanon’s government—highly influenced by Hezbollah—is faced with the quandary of being responsible for arresting the Hezbollah men on behalf of the United Nations-established Tribunal.

Prosecutor Daniel A. Bellemare was quoted on the Tribunal website as saying that “this step has been taken to increase the likelihood of apprehending the accused in case any of them is seen by the public.” Bellemare also reiterated that the men are innocent until a final verdict is reached.

However, the move increases the pressure on both the accused Hezbollah men and the Hezbollah-influenced Lebanese government. Highlighting what’s expected on the government, the Tribunal website noted that “the deadline for authorities in Lebanon to report on the progress made in carrying out the arrest warrants is on 11 August. The Lebanese authorities have an ongoing responsibility to arrest, detain, and transfer the accused.”

On August 4, Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star cited a source familiar with the investigation as saying that the Tribunal was also likely to publicly unveil information that links the four Hezbollah men to other assassination attempts.

Meanwhile, The Daily Star reported that Bellemare said Hezbollah has transferred material to the Tribunal that he is reviewing.

(By Staff,, August 5, 2011)