On 16 January 2014 the trial in connection with the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri started before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier commented in Berlin as follows:
“After years of extremely complex preparations, the trial of those charged with the assassination of Rafiq Hariri has finally begun before an international tribunal in The Hague. I am under no illusions that this is going to be a lengthy and also difficult trial. It demonstrates, however, that the international community firmly rejects the culture of impunity for murder and terrorism in Lebanon.”
Syria conflict: Important to factor in situation in Lebanon
Steinmeier emphasised, too, that Lebanon was one of the victims of the Syrian civil war. It was therefore important to prevent Lebanon becoming a mere pawn of the warring factions in Syria. “Whatever we do to stabilise the situation in Syria, (we must) always factor in how it will affect Lebanon,” he warned.
With regard to the Syria conference due to start on 22 January in Montreux, near Geneva, Steinmeier renewed his appeal for the moderate opposition forces in Syria to take part. There they had the chance to forcefully put their legitimate demands. “Montreux offers the only realistic prospect right now of getting the process of ending the violence in Syria started.”
German support for Special Tribunal for Lebanon
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon is an ad hoc court established by the United Nations to investigate the deadly attack in 2005 on former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, in which also 22 other people died. The Special Tribunal is the first international court to be charged with investigating a terrorist attack. Voluntary contributions by UN member countries supply 51% of its funding and 49% is supplied by Lebanon.
Germany has supported the Special Tribunal from the start with both personnel and funding. Since the Tribunal’s establishment the German Government has made over 6 million euros available to it; a further one million euro will be available in 2014. In the Tribunal’s first few years Germany provided two experts to serve in the Office of the Prosecutor. Since 2009 a German national has been attached to the Office of the Prosecutor as “Senior Trial Counsel”.