BosNewsLife – The son of slain former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al Hariri said Saturday, October 22, he wants an international tribunal be formed to judge those found guilty in the assassination of his father.
Saad Hariri’s appeal, which was supported by a Christian party, came after a United Nations report linked Syria and some high-level Lebanese officials to the February crime.
However the Lebanese government expressed concern that the report could lead to more violence in Lebanon , which was already rocked in recent weeks by several bomb attacks in especially Christian areas.
Critics blamed them on Syria , but Syrian leadership has strongly denied any involvement in the bomb attacks and the killing of the prime minister. Lebanese media say the attacks are supported by Syria which they claim is furious that its troops were forced to withdraw from Lebanon under international and domestic pressure this year, after three decades of occupation.
In the latest incident last month, a bomb placed under a car exploded September 25, in the Christian port city of Jounieh northeast of Beirut , and seriously injured a well-known Christian television anchor.
May Chidiac, who worked for the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation, had been critical towards Syria ‘s involvement in Lebanon . She was among the relative few women in Journalism and was seen as part of a new generation of critical journalists in a crucial era for Lebanon which was still under the control of Syria for the last 15 years, even after the civil war officially ended.
The explosion came a little over a week after at least one person died and 23 were injured when a powerful bomb rocked a mainly Christian residential area of Beirut . That September 16 explosion was heard throughout the Lebanese capital, and reportedly went off in front of a coffee shop, killing the owner, not far from a branch of Lebanon ‘s Byblos Bank and a hotel in the area of Achrafieh.
There are fears within the Christian community that Lebanon could plunge into civil conflict, especially following the UN report.
However Hariri’s son, Saad, leader of Lebanon ‘s largest parliamentary block, said that despite possible tensions an international court is needed, to follow up on the information contained in the UN report by German investigator Detlev Mehlis.
The report painted a grim picture of involvement of top Lebanese and Syrian officials in the assassination of his father. “We want the guilty parties to be judged before an international tribunal,” he said, “because the report of the UN inquiry is just the first step in uncovering the truth and for justice to prevail.”
German investigator Mehlis handed over the report to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, after a brief row over names he allegedly leaked prematurely to media, charges he denied. Parliamentarian Ibrahim Kenaan, who is a member of a popular Christian reform party, suggested that such an international tribunal was now indispensable.
“After Judge Mehlis revealed the strong probability of non-Lebanese parties being involved in the crime, an international court is needed, and we back that demand,” the Voice of America (VOA) network quoted him as saying Saturday, October 22.
Saad Hariri said he wants the international community to pressure Damascus to offer far more cooperation to the UN team. But so far Syria has shown little sign that it will, dismissing the report as politically motivated.