The STL is the big story again, and everyone is hungry for more information. Who are the four men that the Tribunal has indicted? Will the prosecutor’s office stop here or does it have evidence connecting the suspects with higher-ups within Hizbullah or the Syrian regime, as has been previously claimed? What else is in the indictment by way of material and circumstantial evidence?
In all likelihood, there will be another waiting period before we start to get the answers to these questions. The good news, however, is that a great deal of information about the case, the evidence, the suspects, and the crime is contained in a wealth of previous reports and leaked information that is freely available on the Internet, much of which we’ve discussed at length here at QifaNabki.com over the past few years.
For those who would like to brush up on their STL knowledge and dig around for information on the identities of the suspects, I’ve assembled a list of relevant documents and posts that should keep you busy. See below.
2005: Report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission to Lebanon (.pdf): This document was prepared by Peter Fitzgerald, an Irish police commissioner tasked by the UN to visit Lebanon just after the Hariri assassination. It provides a useful introduction to the political context and background of the crime, as well as the response of the Lebanese and Syrian security forces immediately following the explosion.
2005-08: Reports of the UN International Independent Investigation Commission: The UN commission, led by three different investigators (Detlev Mehlis, Serge Brammertz, and Daniel Bellemare) produced 11 detailed reports about the crime over the course of three years. You can find all the reports at the link above. The first one, the infamous “Mehlis Report“, cause d a huge stir when it identified key witnesses who blamed top Syrian and Lebanese politicians and security officials for being involved in the crime.
August 10, 2008: The Hariri Investigation and the Politics of Perception: An essay by Gary Gambill that explores the credibility problems of the Special Tribunal and its reliance on unreliable witness testimony.
April 30, 2009: Tribunal Releases the Four Generals: Detlev Mehlis, the first UN investigator, famously had four top Lebanese generals put into custody for their alleged involvement with the Hariri crime. Nearly four years later, they were released by Daniel Bellemare for lack of evidence. It was a big blow to the confidence of the March 14th movement, one from which it never quite recovered.
May 23, 2009: The Der Spiegel Leak: Widely dismissed as politically expedient nonsense at the time (including by yours truly), this story provided the first major indication that members of Hizbullah and not the Syrian regime were the primary suspects in the Hariri case. Note that two of the indictees who are connected with Hizbullah were mentioned by the Der Spiegel article three years ago: (al-Hajj) Salim Ayyash and Mustafa Badreddine.
August 8, 2010: Hizbullah Presents Its Case that Israel Killed Hariri: In an epic news conference, Hizbullah Secretary-General Hasan Nasrallah built a fascinating case detailing Israel’s involvement in the murder, based on intercepted Israeli drone footage, witness testimony, etc. It had to be seen to be believed; this wasn’t your daddy’s conspiracy theory.
September 6, 2010: Saad Hariri Exonerates Syria: After five years of blaming the crime on Syria, the son of Rafik Hariri publicly accepted that he and his movement had been mistaken for doing so. Nobody believed he was sincere.
November 21, 2010: The CBC Leak: Following the same basic thread of the Der Spiegel story of 2009, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation published an explosive story about the Hariri investigation, with details about the evidence it had turned up that tied Hizbullah members to the crime.
November 23-26, 2010: Qifa Nabki & Friends Dispute the Logic of the CBC Story: Several astute readers of this blog point out discrepancies in the logic of the CBC story. When this is brought to the attention of its author, Neil Macdonald, he offers this reply. Upon further investigation, I turn up even more evidence that not all is as it seems…
January, 2011: The Witnesses Come Out of the Woodwork: Lebanese TV station al-Jadid (or New TV) somehow gets its hands on a bunch of audio recordings of conversations held between Saad Hariri, STL officials, and the “false witness” Zuhayr Siddiq. This is tremendously embarrassing for the March 14 camp, and aids Hizbullah’s case that the whole investigation is a scam. (See here as well.)
January 18, 2011: The STL: Prerequisites for Injustice?: Dr. Omar Nashabe, a PhD in Criminal Justice and an editor at Al-Akhbar newspaper presents a lecture at the LSE about the problems of legitimacy, credibility, and procedure plaguing the court.
June 30, 2011: STL Indicts 4 Suspects for Hariri Murder: Six years after the crime, four individuals (two of whom we know are connected to Hizbullah) are indicted.