Total Pageviews

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hariri Son Discusses Assassination at Lebanon Tribunal

Reuters footage of the aftermath of the car bombing in the Lebanese village of Hermel on Jan. 16.

As my colleague Ben Hubbard reported, a suicide car bomber killed at least 3 people in a northeastern town in Lebanon, the latest in a string of attacks that many have interpreted as targeting groups backing opposite sides in the civil war in neighboring Syria.

It was also a bloody backdrop to a long-awaited event that opened in Europe on Thursday and that represents another fault line in the deadly sectarian showdown in the region: the opening of the trial at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon on the outskirts of The Hague.

The tribunal trial centers on the assassination of Rafik Hariri, a former prime minister killed by a car bomb in Beirut in 2005. The prosecution contends that the four suspects are members of Hezbollah. None of the men have been arrested and they are being tried in absentia.

On Thursday, Mr. Hariri’s son, Saad, also a former prime minister, spoke to reporters outside of the trial building. In this English language footage posted by Al Arabiya, Mr. Hariri said, in part:

Today for the first time this act of terror that happened in Lebanon, hopefully we will see the time of impunity ending and the time of justice coming. We are today beginning to see the unfolding of how Prime Minister Hariri and many others of the Syrian revolution have been killed and assassinated because of their fight for democracy.

We thank the international community for this opportunity that gave Lebanon to find justice against criminals that committed this heinous crime, and unfortunately the names of those who perpetrated these crimes are Lebanese.

They follow a certain political party. They are innocent until proven guilty. This is what we want. Justice not vengeance. We never seek vengeance, and hopefully by the end of this trial we will find out the truth, and we will get the justice that we called for in Lebanon.

As my colleague Alan Cowell reported on the opening day of the trial, the four accused have been shielded from arrest and prosecution by the powerful Lebanese Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah.

A report from AFP showed some of the opening remarks from the tribunal, followed by damage from Thursday’s blast in Hermel. The lead prosecutor in the trial, Norman Farrell, said, “The people of Lebanon have the right to have this trial, to hear the evidence, and to seek the truth.”

AFP report includes remarks from the opening session of the tribunal on Jan. 16.

In another statement, made in Arabic and posted on his YouTube channel, Mr. Hariri described the start of the trial as a historic moment that represented the Lebanese people’s demands for justice, without answering violence with violence. But he said not handing over the suspects was a “crime in addition to the original crime.”

Saad Hariri’s statement in Arabic outside of the building where the trial is taking place in The Hague on Jan. 16. as posted in his YouTube channel.

Follow Christine Hauser on Twitter @christineNYT.