|— Nader Ezziddine
At last, and after waiting for long, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon Prosecutor-General Daniel Bellemare uncovered his “wonder” the so-called “Indictment” in the case of the former PM Rafiq Al-Hariri assassination in addition to his guarding the secrecy related to some details present in the judgment text. The indicted men unprecedentedly sighed deeply upon reading the indictment; they were rather joyfully smiling. For it is true they are confident they are unjustly judged, but they still have been hoping day and night that one day all the Lebanese people will read the verdict that Lebanon has paid for in blood, money, destruction, and enmity.
Yes. It is true the resistance has wanted the “truth” seekers to examine closely 45 pages perhaps they may comprehend what they are doing! Whom they are supporting! In addition, how innocent people are wrongfully accused!
On the accusing panel, the resistance wants to thank Bellemare, because if history books are scanned, one will never find an indictment acquitting the accused of the charges! Never will one ever find an indictment including suspicions in the soundness and accuracy of what came in it!
What “wonder” made the judge of the SITL pre-trial procedures Daniel Fransen drive suspicion against Bellemare’s indictment but then agree to it simultaneously?
A remote question that has never crossed anyone’s mind, nor has it drawn anyone’s attention either because all the attention has been focusing on Bellemare’s indictment, and none has tired out one’s self to read what is more significant than the indictment, it is the approval decision that Daniel Fransen issued!
After reviewing Bellemare’s indictment and Fransen’s decision of approval for the former’s charges, we suddenly come to find first that the approval decision in addition to the indictment comprise 59 pages! Meanwhile, we find that the indictment itself is made of 45 pages! Furthermore, if we seclude the procedural and legal pages, we will remain with eight pages that consist of actual content. Therefore, Francine’s decision that represented his approval of Bellemare’s indictment supposedly should not be more than four pages!
Nonetheless, the main reason for Fransen’s elaboration in his explanation, interpretation, and justification in the approval decision results from including indications, information, conclusions, and opinions drawing up the proceedings between Fransen and Bellemare during the phase of approval that lasted for 7 months. This data is quite significant in terms of conceptualization and vision we can derive from both the indictment and the decision of approval.
Bellemare’s Indictment Written to Accuse Others in the Future
Since the indictment, from A to Z, is based on the communications file, it was necessary to refer to an expert in international communications Riyad Bahsoun who has accompanied the cellular communications sector since it originated in Lebanon in 1994 till today; in addition, he is the Vice President of the International Union for Communications. Bahsoun started in his interview with Al-Manar Channel by saying: “As a beginning, Bellemare indictment directs charges so broadly and so intensely which represents an absolute conviction that the four accused are indeed the ones who had committed the crimes he accuses them of. Bellemare added that they were the ones who had committed it because they could do it and that they are trained to execute such an act! And that they had the intention to do that!
In his interpretation for the reason for them to possess such a capability, he says because they belong to the military wing of Hizbollah that has committed well-known crimes of terror! If we depend on the principle of law that considers an accused innocent until it is proven otherwise, the acquittal of the four has become moralistically difficult after one reads Bellemare’s indictment. This indictment is written in such a way that it prevents anyone to think that the four could ever be innocent. From this emerges the acute difference between the indictment text and what General Secretary of Hizbollah Sayyed Hasan Nasrullah reassures that the accused are unjustly judged heroes; this drastic difference was a basic goal for Bellemare. However, the other goal, correlating the accused with Hizbollah and Martyr Imad Mughniyeh, was his desire to bring forward additional accusations at a later stage, regardless whether Fransen would approve of them or not.
Certainly, the correlations will be brought forward; Had not he wanted to broaden the circle of accusation further beyond the four members, he would not have included those clauses, mentioned Mughniyeh or Hizbollah; what arouses astonishment is Fransen’s non-objection to keep those clauses in the text.” In addition, an intentional error is included in the indictment text accusing Hizbollah of committing “terrorist operations” in Clause 59, but never mentions the source he based his indictment on so that he may allow to determine Hizbollah involvement in terrorism. We must Keep in mind that there has not been an international agreement or admittance that Hizbollah is classified as a terrorist party. Besides, there has been no verdict by any court or judicial corps or UN General Assembly or UN Security Council (The UN Security Council founded the SITL by resolution 1757/ 2007) that classifies or indicates the involvement of Hizbollah in terrorism.
Bellemare Can Never Connect the Accused to Hizbollah
If we want to speak in scientific terms away from any political context, we can assure the secrecy of Hizbollah membership, where neither online, nor on the Lebanese judicial system, or at the Ministry of Interior do listings exist for any person affiliated with Hizbollah. Thus, no one does register himself or receive a memebership card like what happens with other political parties; moreover, affiliation with the military wing in Hizbollah is strictly confidential.
Consequently, Bellemare can never in any accusation assure that the indicted belong to the military wing of Hizbollah! He does not have the evidence, and it is impossible to know that. As for Sayyed Hasan Nasrullah, he can depict those as resisting heroes and they can be as such without being members or leaders in Hizbollah or in its military wing. Even if Hizbollah never denied this “information”, it is very quite a surprise illegal of a judge to include it in an indictment.
After uncovering the snare and now that it is blatant representatively in some paradoxical statements here and there, it is necessary that we go deep in some essential details in the approval decision issued by Fransen. About this Bahsoun says,” the judge of the SITL pre-trial procedures Daniel Fransen uncovers that he had met with Bellemare’s team to discuss the communications file and he specified the dates( March 7, 2011 and April 7, 2011) while Bellemare does not mention these two meetings.
Between the two dates above there is a span of 60 days during which time Bellemare could have modified the file or rebutted by evidence or proof, particularly that Fransen had told him of his own absence of conviction. As a result, we understand from Fransen’s words that there was a debate when Bellemare asked about the person who had made up the file, and the answer was that it was an “employee” in the Prosecutor’s office! The term “employee” is moralistically much lighter than “member in the SITL bureau” is.
Here we clarify how the dialogue went on between the two men, based on what Fransen stated in both pages 15 and 16 in his decision:
Fransen: Who was the person composed the communications file?
Bellemare: It was an employee in my office. (the Prosecutor’s office)
Fransen: An employee?! However, what is the extent of his proficiency and expertise that he composed the file, and what was his capacity or qualification?
Belle mare: He is a communications data analyst
Fransen: But how was the file composed? How can we tell that the analysis is up to the relevant international standard in this field? Because I do not have the capacity or the expertise to validate whether this technical file is sound and accurate or not; nor can I decide whether it is up the international standards at the international communications colleges.
Bellemare: Never worry; he is an expert in such matters.
Fransen: He is an expert in analyzing communications data, yet this report includes data that are wandering too far from analysis!
“Here Francine adds the element of suspicion to the credibility of what Bellemare said about the responsibility of that “employee” in what he had written in that report because the file consists of certain parts which assume certain proficiency which that” employee” does not have to write about them.
Fransen says in his report that based on the provided data and details in connection with the communications and “in the light of the evidence” and ” at first sight”, he finds accusing those men possible. Here the expressions make a significant difference, Francine assures his estimation so he uses a third term but now in Latin ” prima facie,” all of which denote and connote one meaning and that is “as it seems at first sight.” This is what Francine conspicuously indicates in his suspicions about what Bellemare produced “(Page 9, Clause 22) informs Bahsoun.
Bahsoun adds what Fransen intended, “From what has been presented and from the information provided, it is obligatory for me to go after the accused, yet before arriving at indictment, the court has to make sure that this report was wrought and composed based on international laws, and this is what I cannot assure.” That is to say, that Francine reached the point of saying he cannot refuse the indictment because he does not have the expertise to determine whether the indictment is lawful or not. Moreover, he says that he has suspicions about the communications file that the indictment took as a basis! Nevertheless, if it were not Bellemare’s “employee” the one who composed the communications report, then who could it be?
In Part Two
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian