Nasrallah: UN Tribunal to Indict Hezbollah Members

Hezbollah leader says United Nations will indict members of militant group over the murder of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri.

The leader of the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah said Thursday he had been informed that the UN tribunal for Lebanon would indict some Hezbollah members in the murder of former Lebanese leader Rafik Hariri.

"Out of his keenness to ensure national unity, (Lebanese Premier Saad) Hariri told me (during a meeting) that the UN tribunal indictment will be issued and will accuse some members of Hezbollah," Nasrallah said during a press conference in Beirut's southern suburbs.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah

The UN tribunal was established in 2007 to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of Rafik Hariri, father of current premier Saad Hariri. The elder Hariri was killed in a massive bomb blast in Beirut, along with 20 other people. His allies have accused Syria and its followers in Lebanon of being behind the murder, a charge Damascus has denied.

"We reject the idea that Hezbollah members might be indicted," Nasrallah said, but noted that the indictment does not accuse Syria.

The Hezbollah chief warned that "there's a new scheme that targets the resistance (Hezbollah), Lebanon and the region through the Special Tribunal for Lebanon."

Nasrallah in March confirmed that UN investigators had interrogated members of his Syrian- and Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement.

According to a Lebanese judicial source, the tribunal will be issuing at least two rounds of the indictments starting from September and around the end of this year.

Lebanese media reports indicated that in the first round UN prosecutor Daniel Bellemare will indict "three to five members of Hezbollah and in the second round about 20 with various ranks including some key officials."

The reports added that Bellemare was informed by Lebanese military leaders in an informal way that the Lebanese army would not arrest
any members of Hezbollah party if they should be indicted.

A report in the German news magazine Der Spiegel last year revealed a link between Hezbollah and the Hariri assassination.

The reports about the indictments against Hezbollah have raised fears in Lebanon that the security situation will deteriorate, and Premier Hariri on Thursday attempted to assure the Lebanese that there would not be a crisis or sedition in the country.

"There are political disputes? but nothing will happen," Hariri said.