by Francis A. Boyle Ph.D.
Al-Jazeera Satellite Television at 1830 gmt on 10 August broadcasts
25-minute episode of its "Behind the News" programme and moderator Hasan Jammul, in the Doha studio, hosts Judge and Professor
al-Ghatit, via satellite from Cairo; International Law Professor Francis
via satellite from Illinois; and International Law Professor Antoine
telephone from Beirut, to discuss the evidence that Hezbollah
Hasan Nasrallah offered in a news conference in Beirut on 9 August to
Israel in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister
Boyle spoke in English with superimposed Arabic translation.
The programme begins with a three-minute recorded report over video
reporter Abbas Nasir in Beirut summarizes Nasrallah's statements and
The reporter says:
"The Hezbollah secretary general, who appeared
every small detail, blocked the way of the indictment bill that he said
incriminate his party by offering something like an indictment bill
incriminating Israel." He concludes his report by saying: "Sayyid
his word, a word that will continue to echo in Beirut and the region
staunch supporter and a steadfast opponent. If this word has not already
destroyed the course of the international investigation, it has no doubt
it a fatal blow. Hezbollah usually wins his battles in defence of the
not on points but by knockouts."
Jammul asks Al-Ghatit in Cairo if what Nasrallah offered was enough
Israel legally accountable. Al-Ghatit differentiates between local and
international courts and suggests that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon
should turn attention to and investigate every piece of evidence. If it
check all evidence and presumptions, he says, that would be "nothing but
negligence reflecting the political nature of the tribunal."
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Dr Boyle says that the STL has been "under the control and domination
United States right from the beginning when Bush junior's administration
up to apply pressure on Syria." He says now that Obama's administration
cooperating with Syria, it is trying to redirect the accusation towards
Hezbollah "for political reasons" and to "neutralize Hezbollah's popular
in Lebanon, even if this is done at the expense of further
Lebanon." Boyle says Nasrallah's presumptions "should certainly be
investigated." He says he doubts this will happen, however, "because
this is a
political process from the beginning." He says the first report of the
investigation commission into Al-Hariri's assassination relied on some
"baseless" circumstantial evidence to accuse Syria.
Dr Sfayr in Beirut says what Nasrallah offered "must certainly be
consideration, first from a political point of view because he is a
leader representing a key party and sect in Lebanon." But from a legal
view, he says, "the issue is related to presumptions, documents, or
data that should be discussed separately because they need a long time
examine." He says what was offered on television is probably incomplete.
Nasrallah's entire file should be "read in a scientific way" to assess
value. He says this is exclusively the job of the STL. He says no one
the STL to consider Nasrallah's evidence or not because the tribunal is
master of itself."
The programme then offers a recorded video statement by Lebanese Army
Brigadier General Ilyas Hanna on the security value of Nasrallah's
Hanna stresses Hezbollah's intelligence ability to intercept and
information and uncover collaborators with Israel.
The programme then offers a recorded video statement by an Israeli
expert in which he says the information that Nasrallah offered regarding
Insariyah operation in 1997 "has nothing new." He describes Nasrallah's
accusation that Israel's spies in Lebanon might be involved in
assassination as "ridiculous". He says Nasrallah is trying "to save
his party from the charges that hover over their heads."
Asked what the STL should now do, Dr Al-Ghatit says if the STL wants
credibility it must take these presumptions and investigate them.
would be explicitly announcing that it is a tool to fragment Lebanon and
fires among its sects." He says the tribunal cannot assume that
evidence will lead to nothing, even if it has stronger evidence against
parties. He says no one can describe any presumption as "weak".
Boyle reiterates that "the tribunal will do everything the United
dictates to it." He says the world needs not a tribunal for Lebanon, but
crime tribunal to try Israel for its "mass killings" against the
and the Lebanese.
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