Justice or Peace? Hariri Trial Could Spark Further Unrest in Lebanon

Twenty-two other people died in the attack on Hariri, which took place on Valentine’s Day in 2005. The investigation into the bombing has been extremely political and full of errors.

Proceedings in the case of murdered ex-Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri are set to being in the Netherlands this week. The trial could cause further unrest in a country that is already on the verge of chaos.

Rarely has there been a case like this one. The crime was both dramatic and brutal, the investigation was plagued by shocking errors and surprising twists. And rarely has a criminal case had such geopolitical significance. On Thursday, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon will begin hearing the case in an unimposing building in the Dutch town of Leidschendam near The Hague. The outcome is uncertain.

Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed in an attack in Beirut almost nine years ago. Twenty-two bodyguards and passersby also lost their lives in the explosion. Six-and-a-half years ago, the United Nations decided to investigate the murder and established the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, also known as the STL. In the intervening years, the tribunal, which is funded by 28 countries, Germany included, has spent more than a quarter-billion dollars in its quest for truth.

Scandals have accompanied the investigation from the very beginning. High-ranking UN deputies have stepped down, for “private reasons.” Others have been duped by dubious witnesses. In Lebanon, there are many who believe the tribunal has a Western bias; in the West, on the other hand, people worry that the UN body has withheld facts that could be uncomfortable for the Arab world.

Scandals have accompanied the investigation from the very beginning. High-ranking UN deputies have stepped down, for “private reasons.” Others have been duped by dubious witnesses. In Lebanon, there are many who believe the tribunal has a Western bias; in the West, on the other hand, people worry that the UN body has withheld facts that could be uncomfortable for the Arab world.

Read more at Der Spiegel

Author: konigludwig

progressive social democrat, internationalist, conservationist

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