Lebanon prosecutor explores motive amid defence uproar

03 December 2014 by Karina Hof, Leidschendam (The Netherlands)

“A sea change” was the phrase repeated by defence teams at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) to decry what they saw as a radical, unexpected departure from the prosecution’s case against five Hezbollah members accused of operating the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005.

STL Courtroom in The Hague
Image caption: 
STL courtroom in The Hague (Flickr/STL-TSL)

Since the Ayyash et al. trial opened nearly a year ago, the prosecution has staidly – soporifically, to some – emphasized telecommunications data as the crux of its evidence. But in court on 13 November, defence lawyers jumped to their feet, protesting the motion to submit what prosecutor Graeme Cameron called “background evidence of certain political events and developing tensions which fit together with the progress of the conspiracy”. 

The submission includes testimonies by politicians, journalists and Hariri confidants, plus weighty documents relating to the end of Lebanon’s civil war and the role of Syrian-backed party Hezbollah. Many agree these are the ingredients for a recipe implicating Syria in the Beirut bomb that killed Hariri and 21 others.

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