STL to Issue More Indictments in Hariri Hit
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati revealed Monday that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will issue a new indictment in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.
“General Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare informed me during his recent visit to Lebanon that he will update the indictment for the assassination of the martyr and [former] Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and his companions,” Mikati told LBCI in an interview Saturday.
Last year, the STL indicted four Hizbullah terrorists for involvement in the killing of Hariri and 21 others. Hizbullah denounced the indictement as a "Zionist plot" and refused to hand the four men over.
The UN-backed court has decided to begin trials in absentia for the accused, setting a historical precedent for international courts.
During his interview Mikati refused to comment on whether the new indictments would target additional Hizbullah terrorists and tried to downplay recent reports several assassination plots may be targeting senior security officials.
Mikati said those intelligence reports had been "looked into" and those being targeted had been "apprised of the situation."
Last month, Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said that Ashraf Rifi, head of the Internal Security Forces, and Wissam al-Hasan, chief of the ISF’s Information Branch, were all possible targets of an alleged plot.
Other reports indicated Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel as another possible target of assassination.
Hizbullah has been widely accused by opposition leaders of using its terror militias and munitions to undermine Lebanon's democracy and to pursue a unilateral foreign policy that has drawn the nation into costly wars with Israel.
It has also been accused of using political assassination as a means of imposing its will on the Lebanese people.
Asked about his relationship with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the son of the slain Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, Mikati denied rumors that the two are at odds with one another.
“I am not engaged in rivalry with anyone and appointing me to the position of prime minister does not mean I am engaged in rivalry with anyone,” Mikati said two days before Lebanon commemorates the February assassination of Hariri’s father.
“I had known the martyred prime minister since 1978 and we had a special relationship. When I was a minister in two of his governments, in 2000 and 2004, we were in agreement on all matters,” he added.
Mikati also referred to recent unrest in his hometown of Tripoli in northern Lebanon, where gun battles between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad left three dead and over 20 wounded.
The flare-up in violence also left six soldiers injured leading Mikati to comment, “I ask citizens to strengthen the army's presence and support it and not attack it.”
Both Mikati and Lebanese President Michel Sleiman have called for the Lebanese Army to be strengthened so that local militias can be disarmed.
Hizbullah patently rejects any notion that it should disarm and insists that it will continue to protect Lebanon through 'resistance' against Israel.