Political deadlock strains STL

19 January 2011 by Daisy Mohr

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s prosecutor Daniel Bellemare filed his first indictment this week amidst a political crisis in the country. Factions are at loggerheads about the existence of the tribunal, which seeks to investigate the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. 

Details of the long-awaited indictment is expected to be divulged in the next six to ten weeks, when pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen will decide whether there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial.

Last week, Lebanon’s Hezbollah-led opposition stepped out of the government after Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the son of the slain Sunni leader, refused the opposition’s demand to hold an immediate cabinet meeting to discuss the United Nations-backed tribunal. Hezbollah’s resignation follows the failure of a five-month mediation effort by Syria and Saudi Arabia to find a solution to Lebanon’s political deadlock. The cabinet’s collapse has thrown Lebanon into its worst political crisis since 2008, when a similar stalemate resulted in deadly street fighting.

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