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Lebanon: Hariri Withdraws Accusations Against Syria

(Sept. 21, 2010) In a press interview conducted on September 6, 2010, Saad al-Hariri, the Prime Minister of Lebanon, acknowledged that his accusation that Syria was behind the assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rafic al-Hariri, was wrong and politically motivated. He further stated that those investigating the incident were misled by the false testimony of witnesses, who caused harm to Syria, Lebanon, and the family of the martyred Prime Minister. (Hariri: We Hastily Accused Damascus and Committed Mistakes [in Arabic], ASHARQ ALAWSAT (Sept, 6, 2010),

The assassination of Hariri in 2005 led the United Nations Security Council to create a special tribunal for Lebanon under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, to bring to justice all who might have been involved in the crime. It is important to note that this was the first time the Security Council had created a mixed tribunal for a local crime that does not qualify as an international criminal offense. (See Issam Michael Saliba, International Tribunals, National Crimes and the Hariri Assassination: A Novel Development in International Criminal Law, Law Library of Congress website(June 2007),

Saad al-Hariri's statement comes at a time when tension in Lebanon has risen. In particular, it comes in the aftermath of Hezbollah denouncing the tribunal as a politicized tool under the influence of the West, and saying. that it expected the U.N.- backed tribunal to indict Hezbollah for the assassination. (Lebanon: Supporters Stunned as Hariri Says Syria Didn't Kill His Dad, LOS ANGELES TIMES (Sept. 7, 2010),