Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – Informed sources have revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that “the only person who knows when the international tribunal will issue its decision is Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare.”
The source added that “the only thing that is certain is that the General Prosecutor has finished the investigative phase that has lasted nearly 6 years.”
The source also revealed that Bellemare is “familiar with all the issues and data relating to the assassination (of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik) Hariri and some other assassinations that followed the [original] crime which took place on 14 February 2005.”
He added that Bellemare is “more comfortable than at any time in the past with regards to the results that he has reached, and these results will enable him to make indictments based upon strong, solid, and conclusive evidence…and it will be difficult, if not impossible, to challenge this evidence or undermine it during the trial phase.”
At the same time, Hezbollah’s campaign against the international tribunal has intensified. Ghaleb Abu Zeinab, a member of Hezbollah’s political bureau, responded to statements issued by Lebanese Youth Minister Ahmed Fatfat and Future bloc MP Mohamed Kabara who accused Hezbollah of threatening Lebanon and its institutes, by saying that such talk is an expression of “impotent ignorance following the failure to spread sedition and the exposure of past mistakes to maintain the political tension in the [Lebanese] street.”
The UN-backed probe into Hariri’s assassination is reportedly set to indict high-ranking operatives of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, the powerful Shiite movement which is backed by Iran and Syria.
The Shiite movement, which dismisses the tribunal as part of a US-Israeli plot, has said it would not accept the indictment of its members and warned of repercussions – raising regional fears of renewed Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence and the collapse of Lebanon’s hard-won national unity government.
The pending indictment has split Lebanon’s unity government, pitting Hezbollah against a camp led by Western-backed Prime Minister Saad Hariri, son of the assassinated Sunni leader.
However Lebanese President Michel Sleiman recently brushed off talk of a crisis, saying that “the political impasse in Lebanon is moving towards a solution” and 2011 “will be the year of launching the government’s work,” during Christmas mass in Bkerki, a town north of the capital Beirut.