The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) kicked off preparations to launch the public trials in the three cases related to the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri by sending to the Lebanese judiciary a list of witnesses whose statements are requested by the court.
“In its new list, the Tribunal summoned six new persons and asked the Lebanese authorities to inform them of the need to testify at the STL headquarters in The Hague,” a Lebanese judicial source told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday.
The source said this list of witnesses is not the first and will not be the last, adding that the court is expected to send a new witness list at the trial state.
Meanwhile, the STL is expected to witness a new phase of in absentia trial in the coming months.
In August, the UN-backed tribunal found the main defendant, Salim Jamil Ayyash, guilty of the Beirut bombing that killed Hariri in February 2005.
Ayyash was a member of the Iran-backed Hezbollah party. He is also indicted for his involvement in the cases related to the assassination attempt against MP Marwan Hamadeh on October 1, 2004, assassination of former secretary general of the Lebanese Communist Party Georges Hawi on June 21, 2005 and failed attempt on the life of former Minister Elias Murr on July 12, 2005.
Asharq Al-Awsat learned from special sources at the Tribunal that Prosecutor Norman Farrell included in his indictment related to the cases of Hawi, Murr and Hamadeh, an arrest warrant in absentia against Ayyash.
The source added that that Pre-Trial Judge of the Tribunal Daniel Fransen had “certified the substance of the decision and referred it to Chamber I to proceed with the trial.”
On Nov. 4, Fransen will hold a third Status Conference with an aim to review the status of the Ayyash case and to ensure the expeditious preparation for trial, through an exchange between the Prosecution, Defense and Legal Representatives of the Victims.
The same source said Murr had omitted his personal right against any person involved in his assassination attempt, adding that this omission did not negate the follow-up of the case.