Hariri tribunal issues draft indictment

The prosecutor of the international tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri issued a draft indictment for the killing yesterday. The indictment was handed to tribunal Judge Daniel Fransen who has up to ten weeks to decide whether to bring the accused to trial. Contents of the indictment are being kept secret for the moment. However, leaks indicate the accused include senior members of the Shia militant movement Hezbollah. Last week, Hezbollah left the Lebanese government, because Prime Minister Saad Hariri refused to withdraw co-operation from the tribunal. Crisis talks at the Presidential Palace in Beirut to form a new government have been postponed for a week.

On Sunday night Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah denied his organisation’s involvement in the 2005 assassination and said that the UN tribunal was a US-Israeli conspiracy. The indictments will be a significant blow for Hezbollah which has been working hard to present itself to the Lebanese public as a patriotic resistance movement representing all of Lebanon.