Bloc of Lebanon MPs push PM to support of UN tribunal

[JURIST] A Lebanon opposition party demanded Tuesday that Prime Minister Najib Mikati announce full support for the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) [official website] during debates leading up to a vote of confidence for the prime minister. There is debate over a policy statement [AFP report] issued by Mikati on his support for the tribunal. Pro-Western opposition groups are pushing for stronger support from Mikati. MP Fuad Siniora, chairman of the Futures Bloc [official website], issued a statement saying calling the policy statement a coup against the tribunal [Daily Star report]. The debate comes after the STL issued last week to Lebanese authorities an indictment [JURIST report] with four arrest warrants against alleged members of Hezbollah [CFR backgrounder] in relation to the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The STL was established in 2005 at the request of the Lebanese government to try those alleged to be connected to the bombing in which Hariri was killed by explosions detonated near his motorcade in Beirut.

In February, the appeals chamber of the STL issued a unanimous ruling [summary, PDF; press release] on several procedural issues, including the definition of terrorism [JURIST report], in judicial proceedings. The STL began debate on the issue [JURIST report] to determine which laws to apply in the case against persons accused of involvement in the February 2005 truck bomb that killed Hariri and 22 other people. Using the Article 314 of the Lebanese Criminal Code [text, PDF] the court held that a conviction on the charge of terrorism requires proof of an act intended to spread terror and use of a means "liable to create a public danger," that the only requirement is that "the means used to carry out the terrorist attack be liable to create a common danger" and that the trial judges should be given latitude in determining whether the requirement was met after having considered the facts presented in the case. In August, Hezbollah submitted evidence to the STL [JURIST report] linking Israel with the bombing. The STL asked for the evidence [JURIST report] a week earlier after Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah [BBC profile] claimed to have proof that Israel was behind the bombing.

 

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