4.12.2008

Tenth Report of Hariri International Investigation Commission

NETWORK OF INDIVIDUALS ACTED IN CONCERT TO CARRY OUT ASSASSINATION OF FORMER LEBANESE PRIME MINISTER RAFIQ HARIRI, SECURITY COUNCIL TOLD

New Head of Investigation Commission Says ‘Hariri Network’ Linked to Some Other Cases; Priority Now to Gather Evidence about Scope, Identity of All Participants

SC/9294
Security Council
5863rd Meeting

8 April 2008

The International Independent Investigation Commission could now confirm, on the basis of evidence, that a network of individuals had acted in concert to carry out the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri on 14 February 2005, Daniel Bellamare told the Security Council this afternoon.

Briefing the Council on the Commission’s progress, that body’s newly appointed Commissioner also confirmed that that network -– the “Hariri Network” -– or parts of it, were linked to some of the other cases the Commission was looking into. The Commission had also gathered evidence that: the Hariri Network had existed before the Hariri assassination; that it conducted surveillance of Mr. Hariri before the attack; that it operated on the day of Mr. Hariri’s assassination; and that, at least part of the Network, continued to exist and operate after the assassination.

He said the Commission’s priority was now to gather more evidence about the Hariri Network, its scope, the identity of all of its participants and their role in the attacks, and their links with others outside the Network. The Commission had also continued to assist the Lebanese authorities in providing “technical assistance” in a number of cases. Investigation of possible links between those cases and the Hariri case continued.

Unfortunately, the establishment of the Commission had not had an immediate deterrent effect on terrorists, as bombings had continued, he said. Two more deadly attacks -– on Major General François al Haij and Major Wissam Eid, both members of Lebanon’s security forces -– had been added to the Commission’s mandate. The magnitude of the attacks and the fact that investigations were conducted in an environment dominated by ongoing security concerns added to the Commission’s challenges.

“But rest assured,” he said. “The Commission will not be deterred by this prevailing violence.” The Commission’s overarching principle was to ensure that justice was done. The Commission would yield to no pressure, political or otherwise. In its search for truth and justice, applying basic principles of fairness, neutrality and impartiality, the Commission must be guided by facts and evidence. Everything else was irrelevant. The Commission was an independent body, created to help put an end to impunity in Lebanon by ensuring that the perpetrators would have no safe haven and that they were eventually brought to justice.

Addressing the matter of confidentiality, he said the Commission had to constantly find a delicate balance between its reporting obligations and the need to preserve the confidentiality of the investigation. There was every intention, however, of being transparent to the extent possible without jeopardizing the security of those who wanted to cooperate, and the security of the staff. Transparency was essential to maintain the confidence of the public in the Commission.

As for the transition to the Special Tribunal in Lebanon, Mr. Bellemare, as the Prosecutor Designate of that Tribunal, said that the filing of eventual indictments would not be immediate after the establishment of the Tribunal, because evidence would have to be carefully and objectively considered in light of the applicable prosecution threshold. Ideally, however, the time between the establishment of the operations of the Tribunal and the filing of indictments should be as short as possible. That was the reason why the progress of the investigation had become such a crucial element in determining when the Tribunal would commence its operation. As a result, he requested a mandate extension for the Commission beyond 15 June.

He said that any unnecessary delay in finding the truth and bringing the perpetrators to justice must be avoided. The search for justice, however, must be allowed to follow its course. Although the frustration of the surviving victims, the families of the deceased, and the people of Lebanon who expected quick results were legitimate and understandable, that frustration must not be allowed to undermine the trust and the confidence the members of the international community and the people of Lebanon had placed in the Commission and in its process. No effort would be spared to expedite the process as much as was humanly possible.

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Tenth Report of Hariri International Investigation Commission: evidence indicating that a criminal network had conducted surveillance of Mr. Hariri and that at least part of it continued to exist and operate after the assassination

3 April 2008 – The priority of the inquiry probing the 2005 assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri is to now gather more evidence about the criminal network responsible for the massive car bombing and determine its participants, the head of the investigation says in his latest report to the Security Council.

Daniel Bellemare writes that the International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) has accumulated evidence indicating that the criminal network had conducted surveillance of Mr. Hariri before he and 22 others were killed in the bombing in downtown Beirut on 14 February 2005, and that “at least part of the [so-called] Hariri network continued to exist and operate after the assassination.”

Mr. Bellemare says the IIIC is also trying to establish the links between members of the network and any others outside the group, and what role the network has played in other deadly attacks against prominent figures in Lebanon in recent years.

The commission is also continuing to pursue its investigation of the identity of the suicide bomber in the Hariri case, drawing on forensic information obtained and an analysis of the missing person files of various countries to generate possible leaders. DNA profiling is being carried out as well.

The report, published today, notes that progress has been made in several other investigations, including the attacks that targeted Major General François al-Hajj, killed in a car bombing last December, and Major Wissam Eid, murdered after a roadside explosion in late January this year.

“In the new cases, the Commission is working on a profile of the targeted victim and possible motives for the attack,” Mr. Bellemare writes.

He concludes in this report that the IIIC’s investigation “must continue to be guided solely by the facts and by the evidence. Its conclusions cannot rely on rumour or assumption; they must be supported by reliable evidence that will be admissible before a tribunal.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN are taking steps to set up the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to try those responsible for the death of Mr. Hariri and last month Security Council members welcomed a report that showed Mr. Ban is making significant progress.

A headquarters agreement has been signed with the Netherlands, a prosecutor and a registrar has been appointed, and a management committee has been established. Financial contributions and pledges have also come from several UN Member States.

Once it is formally established, it will be up to the Special Tribunal to determine whether other political killings in Lebanon since October 2004 were connected to the assassination of Mr. Hariri and could therefore be dealt with by the tribunal.

Tenth Report of the International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC)




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