Berri: Sluggish Dealing with False Witnesses Led to Syrian Arrest Warrants

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said the "unjustified sluggish" dealing with the false witnesses issue has led Syria to issue arrest warrants against 33 people, including Lebanese and Arabs, over the 2005 probe into ex-PM Rafik Hariri's assassination.

He said Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar was tasked Aug.1 8 to study the false witnesses case and present a report on an appropriate mechanism to follow up on this issue.

Berri said Najjar finalized the report Aug. 28. "But nothing happened ever since."

The report was not even put to a Cabinet debate, he complained.

"The Lebanese judiciary should have moved automatically to investigate the case after honest statements made by me, President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Saad Hariri," Berri said in remarks published Wednesday.

"Had the issue been seriously and swiftly tackled, the arrest warrants would not have been issued," he believed.