Three other attacks on Lebanese politicians are being linked to the 2005 murder of the country’s former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, the UN-backed tribunal investigating his death said Friday.
“Judge (Daniel) Fransen ruled confidentially on 5 August that the prosecutor had presented prima facie evidence that each of these cases are connected and are thus within the tribunal’s jurisdiction,” the Special Tribunal for Lebanon said in a statement.
The cases relate to the assassination attempts on former telecommunications minister Marwan Hamadeh and ex-defence minister Elias Murr, and the murder of George Hawi, a former Communist party leader in the Middle East country.
Fransen’s order followed a request from STL prosecutor Daniel Bellemare’s office on June 30, asking the judge to determine whether or not the cases were linked to the massive February 14, 2005 attack that killed Hariri and 22 others including a suicide bomber.
Judge Fransen has now issued orders asking the Lebanese authority to send the three case files to the Hague-based tribunal within the next 14 working days.
But the STL added that “while the pre-Trial judge’s rulings do not mean that an indictment will necessarily be issued by the prosecution, it allows them to continue investigating these cases.”
“It is for the prosecution to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support an indictment in any of these three connected cases,” it said.
The UN-backed court is tasked with identifying those behind Hariri’s assassination as well as a string of bombings between 2004 and 2005 that killed or wounded among others several anti-Syrian politicians or journalists.
Four members of the radical Syrian-backed Hezbollah movement have been indicted for the massive 2005 car bomb attack that killed Rafiq Hariri while his convoy was passing a Beirut hotel.