Portuguese / Spanish / English

Lebanon Tribunal convicts another two men for 2005 Hariri bombing

The prosecution had appealed against the acquittal of the two men, saying there had been fundamental errors in the judgment

Appeals judges at the Lebanon Tribunal, on Thursday, convicted another two men on charges of terrorism and murder for their role in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Al-Hariri, reversing their earlier acquittal, Reuters reports.

"The Appeals Chamber had unanimously decided to reverse the acquittals (…) we unanimously find misters (Hassan Habib) Merhi and (Hussein Hassan) Oneissi guilty," presiding Judge, Ivana Hrdlickova, said in a summary of the judgement read out in court.

The prosecution had appealed against the acquittal of the two men, saying there had been fundamental errors in the judgment.

Appeals judges said that the lower trial chamber wrongly assessed the circumstantial evidence in the case, which was based almost entirely on mobile phone records, when they acquitted Merhi and Oneissi.

READ: So Hariri has cried and left Lebanon's politics, and the Shia suburbs cried with him

In 2020, a lower trial chamber convicted a former member of the Shia movement, Hezbollah, Salim Jamil Ayyash, for the bombing that killed veteran Sunni Muslim politician, Hariri, and 21 others. All three men have been tried in absentia and remain at large.

The court will set a new date for sentencing the pair.

The Lebanon Tribunal was created by a 2007 UN Security Council resolution. Funded by voluntary contributions and by the Lebanese government, the court warned last year it was at risk of closing due to funding problems.

It managed to secure enough funding to see through the appeal in the Hariri assassination case. Sentencing is expected to wrap up by July 2022.

It is unclear what will happen to the tribunal after that, but earlier plans to hold a second trial covering alleged terrorist attacks against other Lebanese politicians in 2004 and 2005 were scrapped due to lack of funding.

"The Tribunal is in ongoing discussions with relevant stakeholders to determine the future of the institution," Court spokeswoman, Wajed Ramadan, told Reuters.

READ: Remembering the death of Rafic Hariri (1944-2005)

Categories
LebanonMiddle EastNewsVideos & Photo Stories
Show Comments
Writing Palestine - Celebrating the tenth year of the Palestine Book Awards - Buy your copy of the book now
Show Comments