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Hezbollah No Longer Recognizes International Tribunal and Calls for Its Abolition | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat – As national dialogue resumes today in Lebanon at the Beiteddine Palace, under the chairmanship of Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, and against the backdrop of the sharp political division that is being seen in the country over the international tribunal investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, Hezbollah has called for the “abolition of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and for it to be replaced, and for the abolition of its operations and the treaty that exists in this regard.”

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat via telephone, Hezbollah politician Mahmoud Komati told Asharq Al-Awsat that “for our part, there is no recognition [of the international tribunal]…because it has been unfair and politicized from the beginning. It was formed to accommodate interests, not to uncover the truth, but to cover it up.”

Komati confirmed that “Hezbollah will not engage with the decisions that will be issued by the international tribunal, for these decisions are being issued by a politicized tribunal whose goal is to pressure the resistance, and regional parties and countries.”

On the other hand, the March 14 Alliance renewed its adherence to the International Tribunal “as an exclusive reference to look at and issue a judgment in the case of the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and the other crimes related to this.”

However al-Komati informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “from the first moment there was no consensus on the international tribunal, but it was working [to cause] division…and there was no confidence in it…because it contravenes the constitution and the law…and will therefore never lead to the truth.”

Al-Komati added “the issue that was the subject of Lebanese consensus was to uncover the truth [behind Hariri’s assassination] as a comprehensive national issue.”

Responding to a question as to whether Hezbollah will continue to cooperate with the international investigation, allowing a number of its members to be interviewed, as promised previously by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, Komati said “we have cooperated with the investigation commission and we sent a number of our brothers there and they were interviewed as witnesses, however after the true nature of the tribunal and its politicization has been revealed, it is no longer justifiable to cooperate with it at all.”

Asked whether he expects international prosecutor David Bellemare to take action with regards to the evidence presented to the tribunal by Hezbollah, Komati told Asharq Al-Awsat that “it is premature to comment on this issue, however we suspect that the tribunal will not deal with Israel as a serious and primary suspect, and from here we have no confidence or reassurance with regards to what the tribunal will do, however we agree with our state partners on the issue of calm, and we have responded to the request of Prime Minister Saad Hariri to hand over the evidence to the Lebanese judiciary which will act as it deems appropriate.”

The Lebanon First bloc that is led by MP Fouad Siniora also dealt with the issue of the international tribunal, with MP Oqab Saqr calling for parties in Lebanon “not to debate the international tribunal in the interests of the country because this only adds to the confusion” adding that “the political controversies surrounding the tribunal serves and enhances the chaos.” While Lebanon First bloc MP Ghazi Youssef said “this issue is not taboo, but we do not know anything about this expected decision [by the International tribunal] so why are problems being created over something we know nothing about?”

Future bloc MP Ahmed Fatfat said “nobody knows the preliminary decision that is expected to be issued by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon” and that “everything that has been published in the media has no basis.” He said “the expected decision will accuse somebody, and it is the right and duty of whoever is accused to go to court to confirm his innocent” adding that “the tribunal cannot charge a state or group and therefore it is certain that there will be no accusation of Hezbollah.”