Lebanon’s Day in Court

The Controversial Life of the Hariri Tribunal

Courtesy Reuters

Ever since the UN Security Council created it in mid-2007, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon -- the international court charged with prosecuting those responsible for the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and associated attacks -- has been the object of intense vexation. Thursday's unsealing of the tribunal’s indictments, which named four men (two of whom are suspected Hezbollah members), is the latest turning point in the prolonged history of a controversial body.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon months before the STL was established that it would lead to “grave consequences that could not be contained within Lebanon”; Hezbollah has pronounced it a Zionist plot; and in December 2010, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared its forthcoming findings “null and void.” In January, Hezbollah and its allies, backed by Syria, withdrew from the government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, son of Rafik, causing

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