Lebanon News

STL: No new allegations in prosecution’s latest amendments

STL Registrar Herman von Hebel, right, is seen during the swearing-in ceremony of Judge Ivana Hrdli?kov? in Leidschendam, near The Hague, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. (The Daily Star/STL, HO)

BEIRUT: No new allegations are included in the most recently proposed amendments to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s indictment against four Hezbollah members, nor will the changes delay proceedings, the prosecutor clarified in a motion made public Wednesday.

The motion, filed on Feb. 6, requests alterations to the tribunal’s amended indictment of Nov. 8, 2012.

“The proposed amendments will not delay the proceedings and clarify the allegations in the amended indictment and the prosecution’s position ... Since they do not involve any new allegations the proposed amendments are supported by the evidence relied on by the pretrial judge to confirm the original indictment,” the motion states.

The changes pertain to the use of the phrase “and/or” and to the dates on which the accused entered a conspiracy to assassinate former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The motion also proposes amendments to date ranges in the amended indictment to “better reflect the underlying evidence.”

Hariri, along with 22 others, was killed by a massive car bomb in central Beirut on Feb. 14, 2005.

The in-absentia trial of those accused of the murders – Salim Ayyash, Mustafa Badreddine, Hussein Oneissi and Assad Sabra, all of whom remain at large – is presently set to begin March 25.

However, it is likely to be delayed following a request by the defense to push back the start date, citing the prosecution’s failure to disclose all relevant documents.

The prosecution has voiced its support for delaying the trial’s commencement, but has committed to disclosing all documents by March 11.

Pretrial Judge Daniel Fransen has yet to make a decision on the matter.

Neither side has proposed an alternative start date.

Also Wednesday, the United Nations-backed court launched the STL’s Facebook page.

“Together with Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Scribd, it [the Facebook page] broadens our network of resources to address a larger variety of audiences,” a statement from the tribunal’s news office said, inviting suggestions for the page’s improvement.

The court intends to use the page to post news and information about the STL, to host Q&A sessions and to post pictures of the STL’s main events and details of career opportunities.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 14, 2013, on page 3.




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