Friday, July 29, 2011


New York, Jul 29 2011 3:10PM
The United Nations-backed tribunal set up to try those alleged responsible for the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri today released the identities of the four men accused of the crime.

Daniel Fransen, a pre-trial judge with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon STL, ordered the lifting of confidentiality on the full names, aliases, photographs, biographical information and charges against the men named in an indictment last month. Parts of the indictment remain confidential.

The four people named are Salim Jamil Ayyash, Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra. All Lebanese, they are charged over the massive car bombing in central Beirut on 14 February 2005 that killed Mr. Hariri and 21 others.

Mr. Ayyash, 47, and Mr. Badreddine, 50, are each charged with homicide, attempted homicide, committing a terrorist act and conspiracy to commit a terrorist act.

Mr. Oneissi, 37, and Mr. Sabra, 34, face charges of conspiracy to commit a terrorist act, and being an accomplice to homicide and to attempted homicide.

In a statement Daniel Bellemare, the STL Prosecutor, said the release of the names and biographical information “has been taken to increase the likelihood of apprehending the accused in case any of them is seen by the public.”

International arrest warrants against the four men were issued on 8 July and Lebanese authorities have to report back by 11 August on the progress made in carrying out the arrest warrants.

A spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the UN chief reiterated his strong support for the STL in its efforts to uncover the truth of what happened on 14 February 2005 and to bring those responsible for justice.

“He calls on all States to support the independent judicial process, including by cooperating with the Special Tribunal in the execution of the indictment and arrest warrants,” the spokesperson said.

“The Secretary-General also reiterates his expectation that the new Government of Lebanon will uphold all of Lebanon’s international expectations, including its obligations to support and cooperate with the Special Tribunal.”

The STL is an independent court created at the request of the Lebanese Government, with a mandate issued by the Security Council. It is based in The Hague in the Netherlands.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Explosion wounds five UN blue helmets in Lebanon.

26 July 2011 – An explosion earlier today has wounded five soldiers serving with the United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, according to a UN spokesperson.
The spokesperson, Martin Nesirky, said the blast hit a convoy of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) near Saida, some 55 kilometres north of the UNIFIL base at Naqoura, near the Lebanese border with Israel.

Preliminary reports indicate that five soldiers were wounded, and three of them were taken to hospital.

UNIFIL has been deployed to the area since 1978. Last August the Security Council extended its mandate for a year, until 31 August 2011.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


New York, Jul 21 2011 5:10PMThe United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon today told the Security Council that the resolution that ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hizbollah has largely been respected over the past five year, but there has been little progress towards an envisaged permanent ceasefire. The terms of resolution 1701 ended a month-long war between Israel and the Lebanon-based Hizbollah. It also calls for respect for the Blue Line separating Israel and Lebanon, the disarming of all militias in Lebanon, and an end to arms smuggling in the area. “Remarkably, despite tensions, and despite some incidents, that resolution has held very well, and it held very well when you compare it with what happened between Israel and Lebanon in the previous 20, 30 years,” Michael Williams told reporters at UN Headquarters after presenting the Secretary-General’s report on Lebanon to the Council. “But there is also the recognition that while the cessation of hostilities has held very well, there has been little or no movement towards a ceasefire,” Mr. Williams said. He said it was imperative that both Lebanon and Israel make efforts to resolve some of the issues that have proved thorny in the resolution, including the question of the village of Ghajar. Israel has yet to withdraw from northern Ghajar and the adjacent area north of the Blue Line separating the countries. “I hope we can move forward to the position we did have in 2000, when the Israelis did withdraw military from that village,” said Mr. Williams. “This would be an important first step – of course it would not lead to immediate assertion of Lebanese authority and sovereignty – but we do envisage a separate process where the UN would mediate and hold talks between Israel and Lebanon on a final solution that would include the people of that village.” He also stressed the need for Lebanon to look into the issue of arms held by groups other than the Lebanese State. The UN has strongly supported President Michel Sleiman who is anxious to reconvene the so-called National Dialogue, where the issue of arms is expected to be addressed. Mr. Williams welcomed the commitment of Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati to resolution 1701 and to all other Security Council resolutions that apply to Lebanon. “I also welcome some concrete acts that he has engaged in first days in office including the first ever visit by a Lebanese Prime Minister to UNIFIL [UN Interim Force in Lebanon]… headquarters in Naqoura,” he added.