Hariri renews commitment to UN tribunal into father's assassination

Hariri renews commitment to UN tribunal into father's assassination

Lebanese Premier Saad Hariri on Wednesday reaffirmed his commitment to a tribunal investigating the assassination of his father, Rafik Hariri, amid calls from the Lebanese opposition to abolish the tribunal, DPA reported.

"We will not let the blood of martyr premier Rafik Hariri go to waste," Hariri said in statement after meeting with members of his party, the Future Movement.

"Giving up on the blood of the late former premier Rafik Hariri is out of the question," he added, in a clear reference to calls made by the Hezbollah-led opposition to abolish the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

The elder Hariri was killed in a massive bomb blast on February 14, 2005. His followers largely laid responsibility for the assassination upon Syria and its allies in Lebanon, a charge Damascus has vehemently denied.

Tension have run high in Lebanon after recent media reports that the tribunal would soon issue indictments implicating Hezbollah members in the murder.

The Shiite movement has warned that it will not stand idle should any of its members be implicated, and has dismissed the tribunal as an "Israeli project."

Some Lebanese fear that disputes over the tribunal could provoke a repeat of the violence that broke out in May 2008, when fighting between the predominantly Sunni followers of Saad Hariri and supporters of Hezbollah left 80 people dead.

According to the Lebanese daily al Akhbar, which has close links with Hezbollah, tribunal prosecutor Daniel Bellemare has sent materials and evidence to the pre-trial judge, Daniel Fransen, for comparison with international standards pending the issuing of an indictment.

Hariri's statement came a few days after Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem predicted that an indictment by the United Nations Special Tribunal for Lebanon against Hezbollah members would destabilize Lebanon.

Mouallem told the Wall Street Journal on Monday that "Damascus was informed that certain Hezbollah members will be officially indicted by the tribunal soon.

"We are convinced that such an indictment will be a factor that will destabilize Lebanon," he added.

The Syrian official said that "the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) has become politicized," adding that indicting Hezbollah members for the 2005 assassination of Hariri "will sink Lebanon into sectarian violence."

He called for "replacing the STL's investigation with a pure Lebanese probe into the Rafik Hariri murder."

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