FRI 21 - 9 - 2018
Date: Sep 7, 2018
Source: The Daily Star
Hariri to attend final STL hearings in Netherlands
BEIRUT: Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri will head to the Netherlands next week to attend the closing arguments of the trial investigating the assassination of his father Rafik Hariri, a source close to the premier told The Daily Star Thursday.

Hariri will attend some of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s public hearings in Leidschendam on the outskirts of The Hague, which will run from Sept. 11 to Sept. 21.

In the final arguments, the prosecution will make the first remarks. The legal representatives of the victims will follow and then the defense will conclude with their closing arguments.

Following the closing arguments, the trial chamber will withdraw for deliberation, assessing the nearly four years of evidence presented by both teams since the first trial session in January 2014.

A verdict in the trial is expected in 2019, though it can be appealed by both sides.

Former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated in 2005 by a massive explosion near Beirut’s St. George Hotel that also killed 21 others, including his bodyguards and former Economy Minister Bassel Fleihan. Four men who are affiliated with Hezbollah are the prime suspects in the plot. They are all being tried in absentia.

Saad Hariri has been a staunch proponent of the STL, while Hezbollah has long questioned its legitimacy, with Hezbollah Secretary-General Hasan Nasrallah recently reiterating that the party does not recognize the tribunal.

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