THE HAGUE, Netherlands, March 1 (UPI) -- An investigation of the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is moving to a U.N. tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, officials say.
The Hariri assassination inquiry after four years is moving into a potentially explosive new phase as the tribunal opens this week in the Netherlands with some observers wondering if Syrian officials will be summoned to testify, Time Magazine reported Sunday.
"After four years of waiting and desperately fighting all kinds of resistance (to the tribunal's formation) we have finally won this battle for truth and justice," former Lebanese Cabinet minister Marwan Hamade told the magazine. He himself narrowly survived a car bomb assassination attempt in October 2004, which has also been investigated by the United Nations.
Hariri's slaying happened at a time when Syria was still politically in control of Lebanon and it remains the chief suspect in the murder, although Syrian officials deny any involvement and say they support an independent investigation.
"Nobody wants to drown the investigation," Sami Moubayed, a Syrian political analyst, told Time. "On the contrary, in the best of all possible worlds, the Syrians want the probe to carry out, be neutral, and prove, at the end of the day, that Syria was innocent."