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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

Dec 03rd
Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow UN & Tribunal arrow Ban Rejects Syrian Request to Interrogate Mehlis and his Aide
Ban Rejects Syrian Request to Interrogate Mehlis and his Aide PDF Print E-mail
Written by Naharnet, AFP, Agencies   
Friday, 18 September 2009


Damascus Urges U.N. to Probe Alleged Attempts by Mehlis to Frame Syria in Hariri's Murder

Ban Rejects Syrian Request to Interrogate Mehlis and his Aide

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has rejected a request by Syria to interrogate former chief investigator Detlev Mehlis and his aide Gerhard Lehmann for allegedly trying to frame Damascus in the assassination case of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri.

"This is not within my domain," Ban told reporters when asked to clarify the request by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem for him to investigate Mehlis and Lehmann.

"I believe that accountability for violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law is essential to both protection of human dignity and the quest for sustainable peace and security," Ban said during his monthly press conference.

"In that regard, I have been supporting Judge Goldstone's Mission to investigate any violations of human rights and humanitarian laws in Gaza. As this report was released yesterday, I have directed our staff to have a detailed review of the recommendations of this report and we will discuss this matter when we have fully reviewed this report," Ban added.

The U.N. chief said that he had a telephone conversation with Judge Goldstone and "I was informed by him of broader outlines of his report before he had released his report publicly. And we will continue to discuss with him."

Ban stressed that he had "full confidence" in Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare.

"He has been doing a great job, with a strong sense of integrity. This is what I believe he will continue doing," Ban said of Bellemare.

Turning to the Lebanon political situation, Ban said he has seen "encouraging developments."

He hoped that Lebanon will be able to fulfill its "aspiration to have a national unity government."

"Now that, through this election, when Mr. (Saad) Hariri was designated as the next Prime Minister, he should be able to form a national unity government," Ban thought.

He said he was "relieved" when Hariri was reappointed by President Michel Suleiman.

"I sincerely hope that all the political party leaders – they should fully cooperate and should exercise their flexibility for the future of Lebanon and for the overall peace and security in the region," Ban wished.

"That is very important. They have normalized their relationship (with) Syria – that is also very significantly important, to which I have been working very, very hard," he added.

Ban said he will be discussing this issue with Suleiman during his visit to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly meeting scheduled for Sept. 22.
Beirut, 18 Sep 09, 07:57



Mehlis: What We Found is Based on Evidence

Former U.N. chief investigator Detlev Mehlis responded to a Syrian letter requesting his interrogation, saying he has "full confidence in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon."

In remarks published by pan-Arab daily al-Hayat on Friday, Mehlis said that "what my team and I found is based on evidence, and is mentioned in reports the Security Council."

Mehlis refused to go into details of the Syrian letter, saying: "I understand their increased anxiety which coincides with the ongoing investigation and the establishment of the International Tribunal." 

Beirut, 18 Sep 09, 08:42



Muallem: Mehlis, Lehmann Tried to Implicate Syria in Hariri's Murder

The first U.N. team that probed the 2005 murder of ex-PM Rafik Hariri sought to falsely implicate Damascus, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council.

The letter said former U.N. chief investigator Detlev Mehlis of Germany and his assistant Gerhard Lehmann had sought "to implicate the Syrian Arab Republic at any cost" in the February 14, 2005 bombing which killed Hariri and 22 others in Beirut.

The letter, addressed to the presidency of the U.N. Security Council, also urged the world body to investigate the matter.

Muallem based his allegations on statements made by one of the four Lebanese generals held for nearly four years without charge over the Hariri case until they were ordered released last April.

He said statements made by security services director Jamil Sayyed made it clear that the goal of the team led by Mehlis and Lehmann "had been, right from the start, to implicate the Syrian Arab Republic at any cost in the assassination."

"They attempted to induce Sayyed to persuade Syria to identify an official victim who would admit to the crime and subsequently be discovered to have committed suicide or killed in a road accident, whereupon a settlement would be reached with Syria," the letter said.

Muallem said Damascus "greatly regrets that misuse of power" by Mehlis and believes that "the secretary general should investigate the matter and the above-mentioned serious events whereby Syria was targeted through a United Nations body."

He added that Syria reserves the right "to take legal proceedings" against Mehlis and Lehmann "with regard to the injury they did to Syria by using perjured evidence and departing from the rules and principles of the investigation."

The U.N. Hariri probe is currently led by Canadian prosecutor Daniel Bellemare, who ordered Sayyed and the three other pro-Syrian Lebanese generals freed in April.

The U.N. Security Council set up the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in 2007 to probe the Hariri murder and a chain of assassinations targeting anti-Syrian figures and military officials between 2005 and 2007.

The tribunal, based in The Hague, started its work on March 1, 2009 and currently has no suspects in custody.

The Hariri murder was widely blamed on Syria, which withdrew its troops from Lebanon in April 2005 after a 29-year military presence, but Damascus has consistently denied involvement.(AFP-Naharnet)

Beirut, 18 Sep 09, 07:10



Damascus Urges U.N. to Probe Alleged Attempts by Mehlis to Frame Syria in Hariri's Murder

Damascus has filed a complaint with the U.N. against former chief investigator Detlev Mehlis and his aide Gerhard Lehmann for allegedly trying to frame Syria in the assassination case of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri, an official source in New York told al-Akhbar newspaper.

The complaint says Mehlis "fabricated, forged and created politicized information to hit at Syria and its reputation," according to the source.

The complaint added that the former head of the investigation commission and his aide "came up with wrong information aimed at involving Syria at any cost in that heinous crime."

The letter asked U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and President of the Security Council, U.S. ambassador Susan Rice, to launch an official investigation into the case.

A diplomat following the case, said that Syria was planning to file the complaint after the indictment by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon of those involved in Hariri's assassination. However, delay in the trials prompted Damascus to move on with its decision in order to remind the U.N. that "politicization of justice won't go unaccounted for."

Al-Akhbar said Syria is planning to push for a discussion of the issue at a U.N. session most probably when the president of the STL delivers to the Security Council his bi-annual report on developments in the tribunal. 

Beirut, 17 Sep 09, 09:14


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