Defense Lawyers Say Prosecution Has Not Addressed 'Motive' behind Hariri Assassination

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Timeline
Courcelle-Labrousse: It took us an entire year to get one document from the General Prosecutor in Lebanon and the money that is given to lawyers is not enough. over 5 years
Korkmaz: I don't know what is the opinion of the suspects we are defending and we are not financed by the STL to carry out special procedures. over 5 years
Korkmaz: We can conclude from what has been presented that the tribunal did not investigate why the false witnesses withdrew their testimonies. over 5 years
Korkmaz: Any new accusation requires an additional 6 months. over 5 years
Korkmaz: We never tried to contact the suspects because this is not allowed but if they demanded it, we have to inform the head of the defense office. over 5 years
Courcelle-Labrousse: We do not need to take a united stand to defend the suspects but we can cooperate and refute the presented evidence. over 5 years
Courcelle-Labrousse: We are defending the interests of the suspects and we do not necessarily communicate with them. We do not defend the suspects jointly but this does not mean we do not cooperate. over 5 years
Courcelle-Labrousse: This case is not based on strong foundations but has developed based on phone data. over 5 years
Courcelle-Labrousse: We have to present counter-evidence to the tribunal and if Lebanese authorities don't cooperate with us, we would not secure the proof and this is a big problem. over 5 years
Courcelle-Labrousse: We have asked for the help of Lebanese authorities regarding several issues and we have experts in several ministries that can help us. But until this day, we haven't gotten any response. over 5 years
Korkmaz: We consider that the STL is concerned with the case of the false witnesses. over 5 years
Korkmaz: The issue of the false witnesses is affecting the tribunal's work and this fact is ignored by people refusing the prosecution of these witnesses. over 5 years
Korkmaz: Mehlis based his investigation then on the testimony of Zuhair Siddiq and he turned out to be a false witness and we know the party behind these witnesses, and which lead to the imprisonment of four Generals. over 5 years
Korkmaz: When people are accused, proof and evidence must be presented and Detlev Mehlis listened to the testimonies of the witnesses to move forward with the investigation and showed an image of a Mitsubishi vehicle. The image is not the same as the one presented in court today. over 5 years
Korkmaz: When the General Prosecutor requests information from Lebanese authorities, it is provided on the spot while when we ask for any data, we have to go through complicated processes. We have only asked about one document but Lebanese authorities did not respond to our request that can change the course of history. over 5 years
Korkmaz: The General Prosecutor told "Le Monde" newspaper that he will continues probing and I was annoyed by this statement. How can the trial kick off while investigation has not ended yet? over 5 years
Korkmaz: When investigation is over, a trial can begin. this is general knowledge. over 5 years
Korkmaz: As defense lawyers, we are not convinced by the stance taken by the General Prosecutor because he did not present any concrete evidence and is only basing his argument on the telecom data and these are not acceptable from a logistic or from a legal point of view. over 5 years
Korkmaz: At first, Badreddine was accused of being concerned with the planning and then it was revealed that he is linked to the tap. But who is behind Badreddine? Who committed the crime? over 5 years
Hassan: The change of the political regime that followed Hariri's assassination makes us wonder who was the real beneficiary. over 5 years
Hassan: We can deal with the assassination of Hariri from a political perspective and we can ask why a great amount of explosives has been used. over 5 years
Defense Lawyer Yasser Hassan: The tribunal is using the phone calls as circumstantial evidence and these can be rebutted. over 5 years
Courcelle-Labrousse: When a case is sent to the tribunal, it becomes a public property and we ask to be provided with all documents to check what has been done in the case and if evidence correspond to what had really happened. over 5 years
Defense Lawyer Vincent Courcelle-Labrousse: The General Prosecutor started working on some theories and continued its investigation in few others, but for a fair trial, all evidence must be presented. over 5 years
Korkmaz: Our duty as defense lawyers is to probe the allegations of the prosecution. over 5 years
Korkmaz: There are terrorist networks and there was a 13-member network that claimed responsibility for the operation and a name of a suicide attacker was discussed. All these facts have been ignored and as defense lawyers, we cannot find any motive to support the theory presented by the prosecution. over 5 years
Korkmaz: Colonel Ghassan Toufaili was the first person to uncover the story behind the phone numbers and he was asked not to probe this matter. The Lebanese state transferred then the case to Wissam Eid. But who killed Wissam Eid? no one knows and the General Prosecutor must expand his probe. We cannot talk about Wissam Eid because his assassination is not included in the case. over 5 years
Courcelle-Labrousse: We are still at the beginning of the trial and I think that we have not been exposed to any new information in the prosecution's statement. All what has been given are observations and not facts. A court cannot issue a ruling based on observations. over 5 years
Vincent Courcelle-Labrousse: The General Prosecutor must reveal first the phones used and must convince is that a person or another were in a certain area. over 5 years
Defense Lawyer Vincent Courcelle-Labrousse: What surprises me is that until this day we have no motive for a carrying out the assassination of Hariri, as the prosecution did not come forward with any reason to explain the crime. over 5 years
Korkmaz: There are many important questions such as how people were arranging the assassination and collaborating with 30 others without doubting that there is a spy among them leaking information on the operation. over 5 years
Korkmaz: If the cars that accompanied Hariri's convoy did not contain jamming devices, how was jamming possible? over 5 years
Korkmaz: The prosecution is talking about phone calls that are allegedly related to the assassination but the main question here concerns the content of the conversations and nothing yet has been revealed about them. over 5 years
Korkmaz: There is no evidence to prove that there was a conspiracy to assassinate Hariri and the former premier was in contact with Hizbullah at that time regarding the elections. over 5 years
Korkmaz: Until this day, the General Prosecutor has not given any motives for carrying out the assassination of Hariri. over 5 years
Korkmaz: We can't understand how a group can kill its ally and there was a complete trust between Hariri and Hizbullah chief Nasrallah. over 5 years
Suspect Mustafa Badreddine's lead counsel Antoine Korkmaz: There is nothing new in what the prosecution has shared so far. over 5 years

The defense lawyers of the four suspects accused of carrying out the assassination of late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri stated on Friday that the crime is still “motiveless,” complaining also about the “noncooperation” of Lebanese authorities.

“Until this day, the General Prosecutor has not given any motives that could have triggered carrying out the assassination of Hariri,” suspect Mustafa Badreddine's lead counsel Antoine Korkmaz said at a press conference in The Hague.

He elaborated: “There is no evidence to prove that there was a conspiracy to assassinate Hariri and the former premier was in contact with Hizbullah then regarding the elections. We can't understand how a group can kill its ally while there was a complete trust between Hariri and Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.”

“There was a 13-member network that claimed responsibility for the operation and a name of a suicide attacker was discussed. All these facts were ignored and as defense lawyers, we cannot find any motive to support the theory presented by the prosecution,” Korkmaz added.

Hussein Oneissi's lead counsel Vincent Courcelle-Labrousse agreed with Korkmaz, expressing that he was “surprised that no motive for carrying out the assassination of Hariri has been given to date.”

“The prosecution did not come forward with any reason to explain the crime,” he said.

The lawyers criticized the tribunal for “not offering any new evidence in the investigation,” adding that what has been presented so far is a “mere observation.”

“We are still at the beginning of the trial and I think that we have not been exposed to any new information in the prosecution's statement. All what has been given are observations and not facts,” Courcelle-Labrousse said.

“A court cannot issue a ruling based on observations.”

“This case is not based on strong foundations but has developed based on phone data,” Courcelle-Labrousse pointed out.

“The prosecution is talking about phone calls that are allegedly related to the assassination but the main question here concerns the content of these conversations and nothing yet has been revealed about them,” Korkmaz said.

He added: “The name indicators used in the prosecution's presentation are not clear and what surprises us is that the red network is formed of people but the General Prosecutor until this day has not revealed who committed the crime.”

"As defense lawyers, we are not convinced by the stance taken by the General Prosecutor because he did not present any concrete evidence and is only basing his argument on the telecom data. These are not acceptable from a logistic or from a legal point of view.”

Korkmaz announced that Colonel Ghassan Toufaili was the first person to uncover the story behind the phone numbers and that he was asked not to probe this matter.

“The Lebanese state then transferred the case to (slain top communications analyst with the police intelligence bureau) Wissam Eid. But who killed Wissam Eid? No one knows and the General Prosecutor must expand his probe,” he noted.

Oneissi's other lawyer, Yasser Hassan, said the tribunal is using the phone calls as circumstantial evidence, declaring that these can be refuted.

The conferees also complained about the “lack of cooperation” form Lebanese authorities.

" We have to present counter-evidence to the tribunal and if Lebanese authorities don't cooperate with us, we would not secure the proof and this is a big problem,” Courcelle-Labrousse noted.

“We have asked for the help of Lebanese authorities regarding several issues and we have experts in several ministries that can help us. But until this day, we haven't gotten any response,” the defense attorney revealed.

Korkmaz added: “When the General Prosecutor requests information, it is provided on the spot but when we ask for any data, we have to go through complicated procedures.”

“We have only asked about one document but Lebanese authorities did not respond to our request, and this document that can change the course of history.”

Korkmaz criticized former chief United Nations investigator Detlev Mehlis for basing his investigation on the testimony of Mohammed Zuhair Siddiq.

He, however, turned out to be a “false witness,” the lawyer said.

“And we know the party behind these witnesses, and which lead to the imprisonment of four generals,” he added.

“We can conclude from what has been presented that the tribunal did not investigate why the false witnesses withdrew their testimonies. The issue of the false witnesses is affecting the tribunal's work and this fact is ignored by people refusing the prosecution of these witnesses.”

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon held a second day of deliberations on Friday in the trial of four Hizbullah suspects in ex-Premier Hariri's Feb. 14, 2005 assassination.

The STL held its first in absentia hearing at the Hague on Thursday.

The suspects were absent as they have not been arrested. Hizbullah denies involvement in the murder and the group's leader Nasrallah has denounced the court as a conspiracy by his archenemies — the U.S. and Israel.

The four suspects are Mustafa Badreddine, Salim Ayyash, Assad Sabra and Hassan Oneissi.

A fifth Hizbullah member, Hassan Habib Merhi, was indicted later than the other four suspects and is not currently on trial.

SourceNaharnet
Comments 18
Missing imagine_1979 over 5 years

What they said is alreaddy a lot (enno following hariri moves all that time: maybe fan club?) link to fabricated abou addas...
Anyway lets wait and see how things go...
Justice is on its way, slowely but surely...

Thumb _mowaten_ over 5 years

nice try? i didnt "try" anything, i stated the fact and you confirmed it by saying he may have something up his sleeve. for now, they presented nothing, not even a motive.

we'll see when and if he presents it, but according to the other article here they "hinted" that "the content of some SMSes" gave them the identity.

i'm waiting for the laugh, and to see if they'll be able to present SMSes like "hi Mustafa Baddreddine, let's commit a crime! signed: Salim Ayyash. PS: keep this a secret yea?" while keeping a straight face.

Missing imagine_1979 over 5 years

U just forget that ayyach used one of those phones stupidely so they could track him, anyway let's wait for the rest to see...
I really wished that hezbollah was not linked to that and that the syrian regime alone was the assassin, but....
Anyway we will see...

Thumb popeye over 5 years

LOL.... They are looking for a motive? This is not a passion crime. This is a political crime. So, these geniuses of attorneys should know the motive behind a political crime.

Missing imagine_1979 over 5 years

Yes hariri hezbollah assad regime were breast friends so did that happened?
Ghazi kenaan was also syrian regime breast friend in lebanon so why did he commited suicide and with how any bullets...
In fact they r trying to enter political facts involving hezbollah as an organization behind the assassination which is far more serious and dangerous than inculpation of those 5 suspect... But this will eventually happens as well as incrimination of syrian regime official... We are not afraid, truth should be told, justice should be done, we are not afraid of facing our gosts...
Chupachups korkomaz?....

Missing imagine_1979 over 5 years

Yes and same goes for kassir, hawi... Untill chatah, bravo mowaten march 14 benefited from those... Bravo
Plus one for u man, again bravo...

Thumb Chupachups over 5 years

Chupachups for u

Thumb geha over 5 years

the ones who damaged the reputation of the shia community with this murder and trial are the ones who committed this heinous act.

I would suggest you wait till the end of the trial, then ask for compensation from the guilty party which seems to be hizbushaitan so far.

Missing imagine_1979 over 5 years

Couldn't hv said better geha, thank u..

Missing imagine_1979 over 5 years

He was giving his opignon southern like all of us here... U know different opignon, arguments, like in any free constructive discusion...
U know...

Thumb popeye over 5 years

What valid points? Has HA ever given a reason or motive for their killings and massacres. Ww don't live in a civilized country and we are not dealing with a normal crime where motive is clearly evident. This is a political crime, mafia style. I respect your point of view and I am for the proceedings to continue so people can see how civilized countries deal with trials.

Thumb geha over 5 years

how old are you?

I ask this question as it appears you are just repeating propaganda you memorized!

I hope you can think for yourself and realize this tribunal has started and nothing you say will stop it or make it whatever your propaganda tells you.

the results of this tribunal are here to stay and are binding. live with it as we do :)

Missing someone_somewhere over 5 years

what is funny is that the defense attorneys are looking for help to defend the accused (part of M8) and the current govt (M8) is not cooperating & providing the information required....

Missing peace over 5 years

when a state orders a political assassination of opponents, has anyone ever heard a state claiming they did it? LOL ... if syria is behind this as aoun claimed will syria claim they did it? never...

Thumb LEBhasNOhope over 5 years

These are just opening statements. It is the evidence itself that will ultimately be the deciding factor. So yes, I could not agree with you more when you say let the trial take its course.

Missing VINCENT over 5 years

What matters is, the interested parties from both sides know who gave the orders to kill the former P.M. and for what reasons. Most of us have come to the correct conclusion based on events on the grounds and don't need any court or tribunal to confirm what we know. Nevertheless, it is now in the hands of the S.T., and the prosecution will have many chances to lay their bricks, and, at the end, the S.T. will decide if the prosecution was able to build something that looks like a solid wall. As far as the Israeli connection? That "cry for wolf" echoes amid smoking mirrors and forgotten soles. Just remember the orchestrated 2006 Israel/Lebanon war. Needless to say, give the government and the army back to the people who "now" know how to protect it from these two main religious parties with opposing regional interests.

Missing VINCENT over 5 years

Motive? Yeh right. Iran vs. Saudi Arabia. Who wants to be loudest barking dog in the region. It looks like Iran will be with its nukes.

Default-user-icon Tarazu (Guest) over 5 years

Hassan proudly warns that the hand which comes close to the resistance weapons will be cut. 1559 resolution does threaten the weapons so the hand must be cut. Hassin never lies