Lebanon News

Najjar says tribunal will issue indictment gradually

BEIRUT: Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar said Sunday the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) would issue its indictment progressively, predicting that some evidence would remain undisclosed to prevent compromising investigations.

“The indictment cannot be issued all at once … the first disclosure will be followed by more decisions,” Najjar said.

“I do not expect all the evidence, witnesses and techniques to be disclosed in the first part of the revelations,” he added.

No breakthrough seems to have been made by Syrian-Saudi talks aimed at resolving Lebanon’s political crisis over the STL, and Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has warned that a solution after the release of the indictment, which is expected to implicate Hizbullah members, will be too late.

But Najjar dismissed the possibility of any compromise over the STL and added that international and regional mediation sought to contain any escalation in stances that could threaten Lebanon’s stability and security.

“Syria, Iran, the US, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon have a shared interest that revolves around the need to preserve stability in Lebanon by containing all the repercussions that might follow developments,” Najjar said in reference to the impending indictment.

In line with Syrian-Saudi efforts to break the political deadlock in Lebanon, Speaker Nabih Berri was quoted by An-Nahar Sunday as saying he was pursuing efforts to organize a meeting between Nasrallah and Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Berri said political developments were racing to reach a solution to the crisis prior to the release of any STL indictment. The speaker added that contacts would intensify upon Hariri’s return to Lebanon.

Nasrallah urged parties Sunday to endorse and support “advanced Syrian-Saudi talks,” and dismissed the credibility of evidence held by STL prosecutor Daniel Bellemare.

He added that the indictment had been leaked in several media reports with the latest recently broadcasted on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) revealing that it is based on telecommunication patterns, which Lebanon proved Israel is capable of fabricating.

Hizbullah MP Nawwar al-Sahili said the CBC report “is an American film whose purpose is to introduce sectarian strife to Lebanon.”

He added that the court was a US front aimed to deal a blow to the resistance.

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt, a staunch supporter turned critic of the STL, said the court could be a tool exploited by foreign powers to foment strife in Lebanon.

“Some foreign powers want to use the court’s indictment to maybe spark strife in Lebanon, but with the help of our friends in Saudi Arabia and Syria, the work of the court should continue to preserve an essential demand: reaching the truth without reaching strife,” Jumblatt said during a reception to honor outgoing Chinese Ambassador Liu Zhiming.

Hizbullah’s ally Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun played down the possibility of strife after the indictment is released but warned against falsely accusing the resistance in an attempt to discredit it.

“We hear claims that one morning you will wake up to find your towns occupied and gunmen throwing you out of your neighborhoods. That problem will not arise,” Aoun said.

Aoun added that Lebanon’s stability was above any other considerations, in indirect criticism of those who support the implementation of justice, regardless of its repercussions.

“Let them all understand that Lebanon will not become a martyr for the sake of anyone, Lebanese people sacrificed with blood to build a nation for all and thus the nation is more important than any individual,” he said in reference to ex-Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s assassination.

 

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