Special Tribunal for Lebanon pledges action on witness list leak

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The president of the international tribunal investigating the death of ex-Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri said on Thursday that those responsible for leaking witness details would be brought to justice.

“We are... determined, in the interests of Lebanon as a whole, to bring to justice those who currently seek to hide behind a cover of anonymity,” Sir David Baragwanath said in a statement at the end of a four-day trip to Lebanon.

His comments came after the publication last week of a list of 167 alleged witnesses for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, along with photographs and details of their professions and addresses.

The publication was claimed by a previously unknown group identified as “Journalists for the truth” who said they sought to “unveil the corruption” of the court.

“This concerted campaign by a few to undermine the work of the tribunal makes us more determined to fulfill our mandate,” Baragwanath said.

“The tribunal has condemned such interferences in the proper administration of judicial proceedings,” he added.

“I informed Lebanese officials of our actions in this respect and in turn I received their reassurance of Lebanon's cooperation with the STL's response.”

After the list was published, the tribunal insisted it was not incomplete but warned those behind the publication were “potentially endangering the lives of Lebanese citizens.”

The STL was set up by the United Nations at Lebanon's request and seeks to try four members of the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah for the attack that killed Hariri and 22 others in Beirut on February 14, 2005.

Hezbollah accuses the court of being part of an “Israeli-US” plot, and has yet to hand over the four.

The STL has given rise to fierce debate in Lebanon, which is sharply divided into the camp led by Hezbollah and its rivals in the March 14 movement.

Although it was meant to begin on March 25, the judicial process has been postponed indefinitely as the defense team has argued it has not received the necessary documents from the prosecution.