STL judge seeks clarification on additional indictments

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Published Friday, March 2, 2012

The Pre Trial Judge for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), Daniel Fransen, has requested clarification on an amendment proposed by Daniel Bellemare that would allow further indictments, the STL said.

Fransen filed a request to the Appeals Chamber to define what was meant by "criminal association," noting that it contravenes Lebanese law.

"The Prosecution is seeking to add a new count to the indictment of "criminal association," which is an offense under the Lebanese Penal Code (article 335)," the STL said in a statement.

Fransen's request is in response to a February 8 proposed amendment by the Prosecution that sought to add an extra person to the four currently indicted for the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.

The Prosecution's amendment is now in the hands of the Appeals Chamber, who will determine whether the reference to criminal association is applicable.

The Appeals Chamber's clarification will determine Fransen's decision as to whether to approve the Prosecution's amendment.

"The Pre Trial Judge will rely on the Appeals Chamber's definition in his review of the Prosecution's request to amend the indictment. He can confirm or reject the proposed amendments completely or in part," the STL said.

Media reports have speculated that the fifth person the Prosecution is seeking to indict is a member of Hezbollah.

The STL have already indicted four Hezbollah members in the killing, Salim Ayyash, Mustafa Badreddine, Hussein Oneissi, and Assad Sabra.

Hezbollah rejects the allegations, accusing the STL of being a US political ploy to target the Lebanese Shia group.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has previously chastised the STL for ignoring key information that implicates Israel in Hariri's assassination.



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