Hariri tribunal upholds legality

Aug. 2, 2012 at 1:11 PM

LEIDSCHENDAM, Netherlands, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Challenges to the jurisdiction of the U.N.-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 killing of the Lebanese prime minister are dismissed, the court ruled.

The U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon last year released the names of the four individuals wanted for the 2005 killing of Rafik Hariri, a former prime minister of Lebanon. Lawyers for Hussein Hassan Ainessi, one of the accused and a suspected member of Hezbollah, challenged the legality of the tribunal early this year.

The court found that Lebanon has met its requirements under pertinent U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding the tribunal.

"As a member state of the United Nations, Lebanon has honored its obligations specified in the annex to the resolution by taking all required steps," the decision read.

The court added defense issued weren't challenges to jurisdiction but to the legality and validity of the tribunal.

"The challenges therefore do not fall within the definition of a preliminary motion," the court ruled.

The tribunal ruled that it may issue new indictments in the case. It is the first to use an international definition for terrorism.

Hezbollah denies ties to the assassination and believes the matter is part of an Israeli plot.

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