'Think carefully.' Kerry
Photo: AFP
Top suspect. Mugniyah
Photo: Reuters

Senator Kerry urges Lebanese to accept Hariri court

Foreign Relations Committee chairman says Beirut 'doesn't have the power' to change tribunal probing assassination of former PM 'because it was created by UN at Lebanon's request'

Lebanon cannot change the course of a tribunal investigating the killing of statesman Rafik al-Hariri, a leading US senator said on Monday in comments acknowledging sectarian tensions over expected indictments.


Shiite, Iranian-backed Hezbollah is trying to block the tribunal, attempting to curb its financing and calling on Lebanese to halt cooperation with it after it emerged that members of the group may be indicted for the 2005 attack.


The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday the court was moving to indict between two and six members of Hezbollah by the end of the year.


Kerry, PM Hariri meet in Beirut (Photo: AFP) 


Sunni, Western-backed Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri supports the UN-backed court investigating his father's death, and cooperation with the tribunal is enshrined in the policy statement of the government, of which Hezbollah is a member.


Diplomats and politicians have previously said indictments may surface by early next year. As they approach, sectarian tensions have risen and political disputes between the Hariri and Hezbollah camps have escalated.


"Prime Minister Hariri doesn't have the power to change the tribunal," said John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.


"Lebanon doesn't have the power to change the tribunal because it was created by the United Nations at the request of this country," Kerry said after meeting Hariri and before heading on to Damascus.


Hezbollah, which considers the court a tool of US and Israeli policy, has called on Hariri to repudiate the tribunal, whose investigation first pointed the finger at Syria.


Hariri has refused to yield to the pressure, though he has mended relations with Damascus.


Hoping to shore up Hariri's position, the United States last week pledged $10 million for the tribunal, bringing American donations for the court to $30 million.


Kerry also suggested the indictments should not be taken as a pointed attack on Hezbollah.


"So for those who are trying to make it (the tribunal) an issue, those who oppose it, they need to think carefully about rule of law," Kerry said.


"Nobody knows what the findings will be. I don't know the findings. I think whatever those findings are, they are not directed at a whole group of people. They don't reflect one sectarian, or one religious or other point of view."



פרסום ראשון: 11.08.10, 18:30
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