A special UN-backed court probing the car bomb killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, said Wednesday it will allow 58 victims to take part in the case against the four accused.
“The pre-trial judge has determined that 58 of 73 victims of the February 14, 2005 attack who applied to do so can now take part in the proceedings,” the Special Tribunal for Lebanon said in a statement.
Hariri, a billionaire politician and 22 others, including a suicide bomber were killed in a huge car bomb blast in Beirut as Hariri was on his way home.
The Hague-based STL in early February said it would put four members of the Shiite Hezbollah group on trial for the blast and have previously issued warrants for their arrests.
But Salim Ayyash, Mustafa Badreddine, Hussein Anaissi and Assad Sabra remain at large and will be tried in absentia.
The STL’s registrar now will appoint representation for the victims who will remain anonymous unless judges order that their identity be revealed.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has dismissed the STL as a US-Israeli conspiracy and vowed that no member of Hezbollah would ever be found or arrested. The group denies involvement in the Hariri attack.
The STL is the only international court that has a mandate to try suspects in absentia.
Created by a 2007 UN Security Council resolution at Lebanon’s request, the STL opened its doors in 2009 and is tasked with trying those suspected of responsibility for Hariri’s assassination.