Lebanon govt ducks commitment to UN Hariri court

AFP , Thursday 30 Jun 2011

No clear government stance in sight after UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon delivers indictment

Lebanon's Hezbollah-dominated government avoided adopting a clear stance on the UN-backed tribunal set up to try suspects in the 2005 murder of ex-premier Rafiq Hariri, in its policy statement issued Thursday.

"The government confirms that it will follow the progress of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which was set up in principle to see justice served in a manner that is neither politicised nor vengeful, and as long as it does not negatively affect Lebanon's stability and civil peace," read the statement.

The news came hours after the Special Tribunal for Lebanon briefed Lebanese prosecutor general Said Mirza on its indictment in the Hariri assassination and issued arrest warrants for four Lebanese in the case.

The Netherlands-based tribunal, which is reportedly set to implicate Hezbollah members in the case, for years had been at the centre of a heated debate in Lebanon between Iranian- and Syrian-backed militant group and an alliance headed by Hariri's son, former prime minister Saad Hariri.

Saad Hariri's government was brought down in January after he refused to abide by Hezbollah's demand that it cease cooperation with the court.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who succeeded Hariri with the backing of Hezbollah, also failed to clearly state whether his government would cooperate with the tribunal at a news conference Thursday.

Hezbollah and its allies control the majority of seats in Mikati's government, which the Hariri-led opposition has boycotted.

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