UN investigator: Lebanese ex-PM Hariri murdered by “criminal network”
In his first report Friday, March 28, Daniel Bellemare of Canada, head of the UN International Independent Investigation Commission, also connects this criminal network, or parts thereof, with 20 subsequent “terrorist attacks” in Lebanon that killed 61 people and injured close to 500. Eleven targeted anti-Syrian politicians and journalists.
The commission said the evidence indicated that the network of individuals who “acted in concert” existed before the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri in central Beirut in Feb. 2005 and carried out surveillance prior to the killing.
The Bellemare interim report is the tenth provided by the UN commission. Up until now, Syrian operatives were the lead supsects for planning and executing the assassination of the anti-Syrian politician. It is not clear if the new report which names no names supports the suspicions against Damascus.
Bellemare said the commission will focus now on identifying links between the Hariri network and other attacks, its scope, the identity of its participants and their external contacts.
He disclosed that DNA profiling is being conducted to assist in identifying the bomber who blew up the Hariri convoy killing 22 people.
In his last report in December, former chief investigator Serge Brammertz found that the bomber did not spend his youth in Lebanon but only his last two or three months in the country.
Bellemare, who will be the lead prosecutor at the Hariri tribunal when it begins work in The Hague, plans to issue a progress report in April that should indicate a date.
UN legal chief Nicolas Michel said the tribunal had received enough funding to keep it running for a year.