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Bellemare Probing 'Recent Unauthorized Broadcasts of Confidential Material'
 
 
 
 
 
 
18-01-2011
 
Special Tribunal for Lebanon Prosecutor Daniel Bellemare is "very concerned with the recent unauthorized broadcasts on some Lebanese TV channels of what appear to be interviews conducted by officials of the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC)," the Office of the Prosecutor announced Tuesday in a statement.
"This material is confidential and protected information and was made public in breach of the law. The Prosecutor is exploring all possible avenues, in The Hague and in Lebanon, to determine how this confidential information came into the public domain and to prevent any further unauthorized disclosure," said the statement.

"The Prosecutor strongly condemns the disclosure of this confidential information and gives his assurance that his office will continue to spare no effort in the pursuit of justice," the statement went on to say.

In the past few days, Lebanese TV network Al-Jadeed has aired two audiotapes involving STL officials and caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

The first recording is of a meeting between Hariri, alleged "false witness" Mohammed Zuheir Siddiq, head of Internal Security Forces' Intelligence Bureau Col. Wissam al-Hasan and Gerhard Lehmann, an aide to former chief U.N. investigator Detlev Mehlis.

The second is of Hariri's testimony to U.N. investigators in 2007. The caretaker prime minister has confirmed the authenticity of both recordings.

Earlier Tuesday, Bellemare warned against speculation on the STL indictment and stressed that "while justice may be slow, it is deliberate."
He filed the indictment for the 2005 murder of ex-premier Rafik Hariri on Monday. He said Tuesday that the document has to remain secret for now.

"Any speculation about the contents of the indictment would be counter-productive," Bellemare said in a video statement.

"Confidentiality is essential as I cannot presume that the pre-trial judge will confirm the indictment. If it is confirmed, the content of the document will be made public in due course."

But speculation was rife that it names Hizbullah members in connection with the massive car bombing that killed Hariri and 22 others on the Beirut seafront in February 2005.

According to its rules of procedure, the indictment will next be reviewed by pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen, who must confirm the charges before any arrest warrant or summons to appear can be issued.

"Even if the indictment is confirmed by the pre-trial judge, the person or persons whose identity is contained in the document are still presumed innocent," Bellemare said Tuesday.

The indictment marks the launch of the judicial phase of the tribunal's work and "represents the fruit of the hard work under challenging circumstances," he said.

Bellemare hailed the move as a landmark in efforts to end impunity for political slayings in the country and said the confidential indictment is important "for the international community and for those who believe in international justice."

He said he had made good on a promise to the people of Lebanon to do "everything that is humanly and legally possible" to bring the assassins to justice.

Addressing "those who did not expect or want this day to come," the prosecutor said: "I would say that while justice may be slow, it is deliberate."

Bellemare also thanked Lebanese authorities for their support. "It has been essential."
 
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