London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Prime Minister Fouad Seniora asserted Tuesday that the new draft of the international tribunal to look into the assassination of ex-premier Rafik Hariri was “blessed” by Lebanese legal experts.
In an exclusive interview with Asharq al Awsat, Seniora, also confirmed media reports that article three of the governing principles of the tribunal, which deals with ‘Crimes against Humanity,’ has been nullified.
He said the draft, in its new form, would soon be handed over to the cabinet for approval.
Elsewhere, Israeli warplanes have carried out their “most intensive overflights” of Lebanon since the end of the Jewish state’s war with Hezbollah, police said, despite a French warning to halt such missions.
Two warplanes twice flew low over Beirut, police said Monday, with four planes carrying out similar mock raid over southern Lebanon, causing a sonic boom over the port city of Tyre, as Muslims celebrated the end of Ramadan.
“These are the most intensive overflights since August 14 … and it looks like another defiance of 1701 and of French appeals,” a police source said, referring to UN Security Council Resolution 1701 that ended the 34-day war.
The territorial violations came days after France, which currently leads the UN peacekeeping force in south Lebanon, said it might open fire on the intruding aircraft.
Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz vowed Sunday that the flights would continue because of alleged arms smuggling to Hezbollah since the August 14 end of the Shiite militant group’s summer war with Israel.
“Increasing intelligence indicates a growing effort to pass weapons into Lebanon,” Peretz said, accusing the Lebanese government of failing to prevent arms smuggling as required by Resolution 1701.
“As long as these attempts continue, the legitimacy of our flights over Lebanon increases,” Peretz said. “As long as Resolution 1701 is not carried out, we have no intention of stopping the flights over Lebanon.”
The flights have been increasingly criticised by the international community, with France warning on Friday against the violations.
“These violations are extremely dangerous because they may be felt as hostile by forces of the coalition that could be brought to retaliate in case of self-defence,” French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said.
Resolution 1701 calls for the disarming of all militias in Lebanon, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the south of the country, and the deployment of a beefed-up UN peacekeeping force.