The UN-backed tribunal set up to try the killers of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri on Friday set a provisional January start date for the trial, AFP reported.
“The pre-trial Judge at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) today issued an order setting 13 January 2014 as a new tentative date for the start of the trial,” the court said in a statement.
Four members of the Lebanese-based Hizbullah terror group are facing trial in absentia for the devastating 2005 Beirut seafront bombing that killed billionaire Hariri and 22 others.
The court, based in The Hague, said that the start date for the much-delayed trial “could change based on judicial developments,” reported AFP.
The trial was due to start last March but was postponed after defense lawyers said that prosecutors had not yet given them all the relevant information to prepare their cases.
“Most of these issues have since been addressed,” judges had now decided, the court said.
The STL issued warrants against the accused -- Mustafa Badreddine, 52, Salim Ayyash, 49, Hussein Anaissi, 39, and Assad Sabra, 36 -- in June 2011 and Interpol issued a “red notice” for the suspects, but so far none has been arrested.
Hizbullah has denied any responsibility for the attack, and its leader Hassan Nasrallah has dismissed the tribunal as a U.S.-Israeli conspiracy, vowing that none of the suspects will be arrested.
Set up by a UN resolution in 2007 at Lebanon's request to probe Hariri's death, the STL is the first court of its kind to deal with terrorism as a distinct crime.
It is also the only current international tribunal that can try suspects in absentia.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)