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Cassese Says Indictment Decisive Moment for Lebanon

| 13.07,11. 10:30 PM |

Cassese Says Indictment Decisive Moment for Lebanon

President of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Antonio Cassese said that the release of the indictment along with the arrest warrants in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s assassination case is a critical moment for Lebanon and the region.

“This is a decisive moment for the Lebanese, their state and for international justice. It is also a decisive moment for the region,” Cassese said in an opinion article published Wednesday in The New York Times.

The STL president praised the patience of the Lebanese and “in particular the victims.”

“I appreciate that this is a lengthy and sometimes painful process for people in Lebanon, in particular for the victims of the crimes,” he said.

Cassese noted that “justice is undoubtedly slow,” saying however that the STL is working enthusiastically despite the “complex” nature of cases.

He stressed that “the investigations must be meticulous and the judicial procedures must be absolutely unbiased and fair.”

“We are of course aware that in Lebanon, as elsewhere, justice has to operate within a political environment, which inevitably leads to baseless accusations of judicial bias.”

Concerning accusations that the STL will threaten the stability of Lebanon, the tribunal president said that “this is wrong.”

“For true stability can only be reached when those responsible for horrific crimes are called to account and the animosity of the various sectarian groups is laid to rest,” he wrote.

Cassese added: “It was Lebanon, a proud founding member of the United Nations, which requested a tribunal of international character.”

He urged the Lebanese cabinet to cooperate with the STL and to commit to international resolutions.

“I wish to remind the government of Lebanon of its international obligations, which are unambiguous... Justice can only be achieved through the assistance of the relevant domestic authorities.”

The Netherlands-based tribunal has indicted four members of Hizbullah in the 2005 assassination of Hariri.

The STL opened its doors in 2009 and is the first international court with jurisdiction to try an act of terrorism.


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