Thursday, December 03, 2009

Lebanon: UN-backed probe into Hariri killings ‘proceeding at full pace’– prosecutor

2 December 2009 – The prosecutor of the United Nations-backed court set up to try suspects in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and other killings has arrived in Lebanon on a seven-day visit, stressing his commitment to carry out his work with total independence.
The investigation “is making progress and proceeding at full pace,” Prosecutor Daniel A. Bellemare said after meeting with President Michel Sleiman today.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, an independent body, was set up in The Hague, Netherlands, following a probe by an independent international commission after an earlier UN mission found that Lebanon’s own inquiry into the massive car bombing that killed Mr. Hariri and 22 others in 2005 was seriously flawed and that Syria was primarily responsible for the political tensions that preceded the attack.

Mr. Bellemare, who headed the independent probe, thanked Mr. Sleiman for Lebanon’s continued support for the court, congratulated him on the formation of the new Government of national unity, and expressed “his deep appreciation for the valuable support and cooperation” of the Lebanese authorities.

“Prosecutor Bellemare stressed the commitment of the Tribunal to pursue its mandate in total independence, fairness, objectivity and professionalism, with resolve and determination, in order to meet the expectations of the victims and the Lebanese people by establishing the truth behind the assassinations that took place in the country and ensure that justice is done,” his office said in a news release.

“He emphasized that the process he is leading is purely evidence-driven and that the people of Lebanon deserve nothing less than an outcome that cannot be overcast with doubts about the credibility and the integrity of the justice rendered by the Tribunal.”

He stressed that the ultimate goal of the Tribunal, beyond finding out the truth and ensuring that justice is done, is to help Lebanon and its people in their continued efforts to further promote the rule of law and in their fight against impunity.