Judge sets date for Hariri murder trial

UN-backed court investigating 2005 assassination of Lebanon's ex-PM Rafik Hariri scheduled to start March 25, 2013.

    Hariri was killed along with 22 others in a truck bomb blast on February 14, 2005 [EPA]
    Hariri was killed along with 22 others in a truck bomb blast on February 14, 2005 [EPA]

    A judge at the UN-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister Rafik
    Hariri has set March 25 as the tentative date to start the trial in absentia of four suspects.

    The court said that any developments such as the arrest of murder suspects could delay next year's starting date set by the judge on Thursday.

    "The setting of a provisional date for trial by Judge Daniel Fransen is an important judicial step on the road to trial,''  said Marten Youssef, a spokesman for the tribunal.

    Hariri, one of Lebanon's most powerful Sunni leaders, was killed along with 22 others in a truck bomb blast on February  14, 2005.

    The UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon has indicted four members of Hezbollah, the Shia Muslim group, which now holds a majority in Lebanon's cabinet.

    Hezbollah denies involvement in Hariri's killing and has refused to extradite the suspects.

    Trials in absentia

    Thursday's announcement sets the stage for an unusual event in international justice, a trial without suspects in court.

    The Hariri tribunal is the only international court that allows trials in absentia.

    The four suspects include Mustafa Badreddine, a Hezbollah commander who also is the suspected bomb maker in the 1983 blast at the US Marines barracks in Beirut that killed 241 Americans.

    The other suspects are Salim Ayyash, also known as Abu Salim, Assad Sabra and Hassan Oneissi, who changed
    his name to Hassan Issa. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.