Lebanon seeks justice for its fallen

The Special Tribunal for Lebanonresumes its hearings this week, hearing testimonies of former parliament member Bassem al-Sabaa

Nayla Tueni

Published: Updated:

Monday marked the 38th anniversary of Druze leader Kamal Jumblatt’s assassination. During all these years, the murderer was not deterred and just resumed his course of threat-making and intimidation. The murderer is not that different from the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Perhaps what makes them different is ISIS military propaganda which it adopted to intimidate people. However acts of abduction, torture and murder all fall within the same context.

Many Lebanese people died in Syrian prisons due to torture at a time when Lebanese mothers continued to protest in Beirut’s Riad al-Solh Square, demanding that the regime revealed the fates of their husbands, brothers, sons or grandchildren, who were abducted in broad daylight and held captive in prisons as dark as the hearts and consciences of their jailers.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which aims to rule on the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, resumed its hearings this week. It was expected to hear the testimonies of former parliament member Bassem al-Sabaa who was close to the slain former premier.

The STL will also listen to the testimonies of members of parliament Fouad Siniora, Walid Jumblatt and others. All these figures are witnesses to that period of time and to the background of the crime.

As the tribunal reconvened we emphasized, as we do every day, that we hold on to justice and truth and reiterate that we reject making random accusations.

We confirm our adherence to the international tribunal, whose judiciary and employees do not submit to local and regional intimidation.

Dignity of martyrs’ families

We know well that all those who object to it, whether inside or outside Lebanon, are aware that the tribunal may affect them and they’re therefore engaged in a preventive war against it.

On Sunday, Lebanese army commander Jean Kahawji tweeted: “No settlements will be made (at the expanse) of martyrs’ blood. (We will not give up) on justice, (our only means) to expose truth and to guarantee everyone’s rights.”

This principle must not be limited to the military but should also include all martyrs: as justice is justice. All crimes which were committed after the Taif Accord - the 1989 agreement designed to end the decades-long Lebanese Civil War - was signed and which were not granted amnesty must be followed up on until justice is achieved.

Being lenient when dealing with terrorists, criminals and murderers is what got us into this current situation in state and judicial institutions.

Politicians have practiced the worst forms of interferences to protect those affiliated with them from being held accountable for their actions. Politicians have also contributed to sealing settlements which are humiliating to many Lebanese people and to the dignity of martyrs’ families.

Once applied to a single case, being lenient and reaching settlements without holding trials will have to apply to everyone. We’ve witnessed such cases before. So let’s end this disrespect and recklessness when it comes to people’s lives, feelings and dignity.

This article was first published in An-Nahar on March 16, 2015.

Nayla Tueni is one of the few elected female politicians in Lebanon and of the two youngest. She became a member of parliament in 2009 and following the assassination of her father, Gebran, she is currently a member of the board and Deputy General Manager of Lebanon’s leading daily, Annahar. Prior to her political career, Nayla had trained, written in and managed various sections of Annahar, where she currently has a regular column. She can be followed on Twitter @NaylaTueni

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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