The tribunal says it has not been able to establish any direct evidence or link between a 2005 blast in Beirut that killed Lebanon’s former prime minister Rafiq Hariri and the leadership of the Hezbollah resistance movement or the Syrian government. Opinions on the verdict predictably follow ideological lines.
Iran-based Press TV reported that the tribunal exonerated the leadership of Syria and Hezbollah:
“The so-called Special Tribunal for Lebanon (SDL) read out a summary of the 2,600-page verdict at The Hague on Tuesday after trying for 15 years and spending some $1 billion to prove allegations of association between the explosion and the Lebanese resistance movement or Damascus.”
“There is no evidence that the Hezbollah leadership had any involvement in Mr. Hariri’s murder and there is no direct evidence of Syrian involvement,” said Judge David Re.
The report notes that Lebanon’s an-Nahar daily ran the headline, “International Justice Defeats Intimidation” before the tribunal’s decision was announced, referring to efforts by groups within and outside the country to implicate Hezbollah and the Syrian government in the crime.
Hezbollah — which has rejected the jurisdiction and independence of the court — has denied any link to or interest in the atrocity. Moreover, the resistance movement has condemned the tribunal for serving as an opportunity for Tel Aviv to achieve objectives in Lebanon that it has not been able to achieve by other means.
Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Friday that he was not concerned about the proceedings, and that if any members of the resistance movement were claimed to be guilty, Hezbollah would stand by their innocence.
The report by Press TV then argues that the tribunal “did not stop short of echoing those who have been trying to make the unfounded allegations against the resistance group and Damascus”, referring to an obtuse declaration by Judge David Re that: “The trial chamber is of the view that Syria and Hezbollah may have had motives to eliminate Mr. Hariri and his political allies.”
Observers said the latter part of the verdict showed that the countries that forced the United Nations Security Council into forming the tribunal in the first place — based on unproven hypotheses, without any legal basis, and in violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty — were still influencing the verdicts that it issues.
The report than notes that Israel’s Channel 1 has alleged an association between four people with alleged links to Hezbollah and the 2005 explosion, and that the tribunal investigated the allegations and eventually convicted one of the four people accused, subsequently identified as ‘the main defendant’.
The report said that of the four people accused, lawyers appointed by the tribunal declared there was no physical evidence linking them to the crime and that they had to be acquitted. LINK
Under the headline ‘Hariri accepts verdict in father’s case, wants ‘just punishment’, Qatar-based Al Jazeera leads with the assertion: ‘Special Tribunal for Lebanon finds Hezbollah member guilty of assassinating ex-PM Rafik Hariri in 2005 bomb blast’
The report notes that former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said his family accepted the ‘United Nations-backed’ tribunal’s verdict in the case of his father’s assassination.
“The Special Tribunal for Lebanon on Tuesday found Salim Ayyash, a member of the Lebanese group Hezbollah, guilty of assassinating former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri along with 21 others in a massive bomb blast in Beirut.
Three other Hezbollah suspects were cleared.”
The international court, located near The Hague, Netherlands, decided that the attack was a politically motivated “act of terrorism designed to cause fear in the Lebanese population”.
After the decision was announced Hariri stated.
“I think that today the court has shown high credibility, showing that this court is not politicised.”
Hariri further said his father was assassinated “because he was against the policy of the regime in Syria and he wanted to take this regime out of Lebanon”.
… The four members of Hezbollah were accused of organising and carrying out the attack, although the Iran-backed group was not formally charged and denied any involvement.
Hariri said those who assassinated his father aimed to “change the face of Lebanon and its system and its civilised identity” and said there will be “no compromise” on this matter. LINK
The Jerusalem Post featured a report by Reuters on the matter. The report notes:
Some Lebanese, including victims waiting 15 years for justice, voiced disbelief at the verdict that acquitted three other Hezbollah members and found no evidence of the involvement of the leadership of Hezbollah or the Syrian government.
I am shocked. Instead of the network (of culprits) expanding, it is now one superman who has done all of that?” said Sanaa al Sheikh, who was wounded in the Feb. 14, 2005 bomb blast on Beirut’s waterfront that killed Hariri. She added that she had never expected an outcome like this.
There was only silence from Hezbollah, which denies any involvement in the bomb attack that also killed 21 other people. Fireworks were briefly heard in Hezbollah’s stronghold in Beirut’s Shi’ite Muslim southern suburbs.
The former prime minister’s son, Saad al-Hariri, ‘also a former premier’, spoke outside the tribunal in The Hague:
“(For) the first time in Lebanon’s history of many political assassinations, the Lebanese find out the truth,” Hariri said.
“The importance of this historic moment is the message for those that committed this terrorist crime and those who planned it: that the age of using crimes for political aims with impunity and without paying any cost is over.”
The report then notes that the sentencing of Salim Jamil Ayyash, who was tried in absentia and convicted of having played a central role in the execution of the attack, will be carried out later, and concludes with a final accusation and implicit threat:
“We tell everybody: nobody expect any more sacrifices from us. We have sacrificed what is dearest to us…Hezbollah is the one that should make sacrifices today,” Saad al-Hariri said.
“It has become clear that the executing network is from within (Hezbollah’s) ranks. They think that justice will not reach them and that the punishment will not be served on them. I repeat: we will not rest until punishment is served.” LINK
Now that the billion dollar tribunal has concluded without really concluding anything, each party has been able to draw its own conclusions consistent with what they already suspected or knew.
The next major judicial and forensic challenge for Lebanon, and one of supreme importance for the future of what remains of the State, will be the investigation of the blast at the port in Beirut. No matter what the final verdict is, it is also destined to be manipulated and politicized beyond recognition by many or all of the parties involved or implicated.
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The tribunal convicted one person based on the standard beyond a reasonable doubt, Salim Jamil Ayyash. Here is the 150 page summary from the court. https://www.stl-tsl.org/crs/assets/Uploads/20200818-F3840-PUBLIC-Summary-of-Judgment-FILED-EN-FINAL.pdf The gist of the evidence was them accepting cell phone data on the day of the assassination claiming that Ayyash initiated a call every time Hariri’s entourage moved, that it was in perfect coordination. I did not dissect it to see if it went beyond that. The court decision only called him a ‘supporter’ of Hezbollah.
Now here is my question, how do we know if Salim Jamil Ayyash was a member of Hezbollah? This is an important distinction because I and others are thinking that there is no way that a member of Hezbollah is going to blow up a high ranking Lebanese politician on his own, without telling a high level officer of Hezbollah. I believe that this is a fair question.
This situation was easily avoidable and the Lebanese government refused to dispose of the 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate from the ship they kept embargoed for 7 years.
That was a long ass scan read. But if there were no other circumstances that occurred (like drones, other groups tailing, other groups listening in) I would have been reasonably persuaded of the criminal participation of the four to five main conspirators. Just because one was only in surveillance or other groups does not automatically absolve him from the act of the assassination group. Act of one is the act of all. His act of surveillance was the necessary ingredient that enabled and ensured the assassination. Even if we are more conservative, all those repeated tailings necessitate a reasonable question as to why it is done in the first place. There should also be evidence presented about the actions of other sides.
Every Lebanese person with a brain knows that Syria instructed Hezbollah to do it and Hezbollah did it . It doesn’t matter that the court couldn’t prove it, the people at Hezbollah are smart and competent of course they nobody expected them to be sloppy in the coverup
Seeing that his father was probably the most corrupt of the corrput cleptocratic class of Lebanon, i would think that if Saad al-Hariri really wants “justice” he should call his father and himself out as the billionaire criminal robbers they are. OFC “justice” is not what he is after. But revenge, more power, sectarian hate, love from US+Israel, and even more cash (as he is now deeply in debt to Saudis). Just like most if not all other high level Lebanese in power.
Sorry Saladin, part of my reply to you got lost, and at this time i am too lazy to write them again. Guess i do need to sleep. ;)
15 years later. $600 millions later. We know. It was not Syria. Or Hezbollah. Hate or love them. Truth prevailed. Don’t be an idiot. Pushing the lie some more.
The STL was ultra corrupt. First, witnesses admitted to lying for money. They were let go even if it was a crime to lie. Why? The corrupt prosecutor resigned. France reenacted the crime scene but did not share the results. Why? Evidence kept changing. From underground explosion. To above the ground. Nothing but lies, propaganda and bs. The STL was closing file. It was the end. Until the pro-Israel German newspaper, Der Speigel. Spread the cell phone rumor. Here we are. The court knows it’s bs. Circumvential evidence. But went to convict someone. To close the file. For good.
Hariri is King Fahd’s son. A front in Lebanon. For Saudi money. Who stole billions. Indebted the country. Like no tomorrow. Good riddance.
Funny how after his death. All Hariri properties. Were ‘gifted’ to Saudis. Goes to know they were and are nobody. Just fronts.
What they do in their own region is fine by me, I just wish they would target chosen ones.
We all know they are corrupted to their bone marrow, and this is nothing but an shitshow designed to give Hezb the blame, pathetic, and this kilings could very well be internal, mafia related etc to been wacked by the west since that could forfil some nations wet dream about setting up Hezb.
How bloody stupid do some of you think we are, huh, like Americans, if we should have an new level below idiot and morons we should call that AmeriTards, drooling idiots. Go to BreitFart or ZeroH if you want to drool, because here we see straight thru your moronic babeling.
Yes, the country with the most to gain from the assassination is of course, ISRAEL. Ergo it is Israeli assets who had the best reason to commit the hit.
So. Not Syria. Not Hezbollah. As it was known. But. One guy. Who ‘supported’ Hezbollah. Did it all. By himself. Hmmmmm. Ok.