On Thursday, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah urged on to boycott a UN-backed probe into ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri’s murder, saying that cooperation amounted to an attack on his militant group.
The Hague-based tribunal probing the 2005 murder in a massive bombing, in which twenty-two other people were also killed, decried the call as a “deliberate attempt to obstruct justice”.
Lebanon is confronting a full-blown crisis after reports that the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) is set to accuse members of the powerful Shi’ite militant group Hezbollah over the assassination of Rafiq Hariri, a Sunni.
Hassan Nasrallah said, “I call on all Lebanese, citizens… and politicians alike, to boycott this tribunal and end all cooperation with investigators.”
“We have reached a very dangerous point where our honour has been breached,” he said in a telecasted speech in which he accused that the probe was passing on information to Israel, his militia’s arch-enemy.
Hassan Nasrallah has confirmed that several of members of his movement, both male and female, have been questioned in connection with the murder.
Nasrallah’s call for a boycott came a day after angry women attacked 2 STL investigators at a gynaecology clinic in a southern suburb of Beirut which is controlled by Hezbollah.
The office of Daniel Bellemare, a STL prosecutor, said that such incidents would not prevent the probing.
Hezbollah has also charged the UN of intervening in Lebanese affairs and called instead for a local investigation.
But Saad Hariri, the current premier, the son of the murdered former prime minister, has vowed to see the United Nations tribunal through.
“Any call to boycott the Tribunal is a deliberate attempt to obstruct justice,” a STL spokeswoman said.
“The STL will continue to rely on full cooperation by the Lebanese government and the support of the international community in fulfilling its mandate,” she said.
On Thursday, Hassan Nasrallah said his movement was bracing to face an STL accusation towards the end of the year.
“We have long known that every piece of information given to the tribunal was passed on to Western intelligence, but we were silent,” he added.
“Why were we silent? Only to avoid being told we were hindering the tribunal, out of respect for Hariri and his family and others.
“But we now have reached a point where we can no longer keep silent for anyone’s sake,” said Nasrallah.