Rafik Hariri murder trial begins at The Hague

The trial of four men accused of murdering former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri has begun at an unprecedented tribunal at The Hague.

Rafik Hariri murder trial begins at The Hague

World Bulletin/News Desk

The trial in absentia of the four suspects accused of killing Lebanese statesman Rafiq al-Hariri opened in The Hague on Thursday, nine years after the bomb attack in which the former prime minister and 21 others died.

The four suspects are accused of planning the 2005 blast on the waterfront in the capital Beirut, which almost tipped the country back into civil war. All four men remain at large.

Salim Jamil Ayyash, Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Hussein Hassan Oneissi and Assad Hassan Sabra are bring tried in absentia.

"The prosecutor intends to call hundreds of witnesses in this trial and to present thousands of exhibits," presiding judge David Re told the court.

"The evidence, including a considerable amount of telecoms data, leaves marks behind concerning the true identities of the perpetrators," said prosecutor Norman Farrell.

A large scale model of the scene of the bombing scene stood in the middle of the courtroom, with a mock-up of the St. George Hotel, in front of which a Mitsubishi van laden with up to 3000kg of high explosives detonated, leaving a massive crater.

"The attackers used an extraordinary amount of high explosives, far more than necessary," Farrell said.

"It is not that the perpetrators did not care if they killed their fellow citizens. They intended to do so."

The trial is being held in a converted basketball court in the former headquarters of the Dutch intelligence services, a building with its own moat on the outskirts of The Hague.

The Hague-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon was set up with the support of the United Nations and the backing of the then Lebanese government to investigate and prosecute Hariri's killing.

Last Mod: 16 Ocak 2014, 11:47
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