The awaited Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) hearing commenced Tuesday at noon for the delivery of the verdict in the trial of the four Hezbollah members accused of involvement in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.
As the Tribunal’s Presiding Judge David Re indicated during the August 18th hearing, the investigation found “no evidence” that the Syrian government or the leadership of Hezbollah were responsible for Hariri’s assassination or directly involved in it.
Judge Re said that at the time of the assassination, Secretary-General of Hezbollah’s relationship with the former Prime Minister was good.
The Tribunal’s findings, which were heavily reliant on the investigation of cellphone records and the mobile network activities of the accused amongst each other, did note that the act might have been beneficial for Hezbollah and Syria.
Additionally, the assassination of Rafik Hariri was recognized as a terrorist attack “carried out for political purposes,” and Salim Ayyash, the chief defendant (in absentia) in the trial, was confirmed to have affiliation with Hezbollah, Judge Micheline Braidy indicated.
“The trial chamber is of the view that Syria and Hezbollah may have had motives to eliminate Mr. Hariri and his political allies, however, there is no evidence that the Hezbollah leadership had any involvement in Mr. Hariri’s murder and there is no direct evidence of Syrian involvement…”
STL Presiding Judge David Re
The final ruling has yet to be pronounced as the hearing is ongoing as of the time of writing. Currently, the STL judges are still reading out a summary of the 2,600-page verdict that precedes the final ruling on the case.