Iraq-Syria Row Calming, but Maliki Needs to Shift Blame for Elections

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari,

The Iraqi-Syrian row is calming down, although Maliki is insisting on additional Syrian concessions. Increasingly analysts are arguing that Maliki is failing in his gambit to blame Syria for his security failures in order to stanch the bleeding of his Shiite support in the run up to elections. His own Shiite Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi issued a statement saying that blaming others for failures while taking credit for successes was not the ideal way to deal with Iraq’s problems.

Maliki’s allies in the Shiite coalition that dominates parliament recently dumped him and his Dawa party, deeply hurting his chances of keeping a majority behind him after the upcoming vote.

Iraq’s president Talibani has taken “the unusual step of publicly scolding the prime minister over the dispute with Syria.”

Iraqi analyst Hadi Cahlou said al-Maliki has to divert attention from the security failures, and Syria was the perfect target. “Al-Maliki was smart to export his problems,” said Cahlou. “I think he will push this all the way because he needs Syrian concessions in order to defuse the anger of Iraqis.”

David Ignatius writing in the Washington post, calls for an “international support group,” as was recommended in the Baker-Hamilton Report, that can draw together the neighboring countries to keep Iraq from blowing apart. He writes that “This is where America still has the leverage to help, by drawing together all the volatile powers on Iraq’s borders — Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and, yes, Iran. A regional security framework will aid Baghdad, but it can also reduce tensions in an area that resembles a ticking time bomb.”

Land First, Then Peace By TURKI al-FAISAL is the best reiteration of the Arab position on Netanyahus demands that Arabs make concessions to stop Israeli colonial expansion. (copied below.)

Iraq, Syria agree to stop media campaigns, speed up returning ambassadors

CAIRO, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) — Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said on Wednesday that he reached an agreement with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari to stop media campaigns between Syria and Iraq, speed up returning ambassadors and form security committees.

Al-Moallem told a joint press conference with Arab League (AL) Secretary General Amr Moussa in Arab League headquarters that he reached this agreement during a quadrilateral meeting included Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Moussa.Al-Moallem stressed that during his meeting with Zebari that the latter did not present any evidence to the recent accusations by Iraq to Syria, adding that Zebari said that Syria is not accused but there are some elements in Syria who are against achieving political reconciliation in Iraq.

Arab foreign ministers held a meeting in Arab League headquarters on Wednesday in a bid to defuse the recent tension between Iraq and Syria in addition to discussing Israeli-Palestinian conflict….

Earlier on Wednesday, Al-Moallem said: “We are ready to solve the crisis with Iraq,” describing the tension in relations between the two countries as “something regrettable that does not serve the interests of both Syria and Iraq.”….

Iraq says Syria must show will to stop militants
Fri Sep 11, 2009
By Muhanad Mohammed

BAGHDAD, Sept 11 (Reuters) – Iraq wants to see a serious effort from Syria to stop militants using it as a base before they can talk about restoring diplomatic ties, the government spokesman said on Friday……

Analysis: Iraq’s spat with Syria backfiring on PM
By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press,  Sept. 12, 2009

BAGHDAD – Iraq’s prime minister is feeling a backlash over a bitter fight he picked with Syria, which he accuses of harboring Saddam Hussein loyalists suspected in deadly bombings in Baghdad. Critics say he just wants to divert attention from his own government’s security failures.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, is trying to shore up his position ahead of January parliamentary elections after the increase in violence in recent months deeply hurt his security credentials and after the Shiite coalition that once backed him split.

But the spat with Syria has only isolated him among Iraqi politicians. It also could set back U.S. efforts to improve Iraq’s relations with its Arab neighbors and normalize its own ties with Syria after years of tension.

Significantly, the United States, which has 130,000 troops in Iraq, has remained largely silent about al-Maliki’s accusations. That, say analysts, could suggest that it too does not fully support the charges or his handling of the dispute.

Another explanation for U.S. wariness is that it does not want to appear to be meddling in Iraqi affairs after al-Maliki was angered when the Obama administration sent officials to Syria last month to discuss security on the Iraq border without inviting the Iraqis.

Al-Maliki has blamed two Syria-based senior members of Saddam’s now-outlawed Baath Party, along with al-Qaida, for planning massive bombings on Aug. 19 in Baghdad that killed more than 100 people. Syria says the Iraqi government has failed to provide proof, rejecting its requests for their extradition.

A U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Stephen Lanza, said the attacks bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida, but declined to be drawn into whether Syrian-based Baathists were also involved.

“It’s important to note that Iraq’s Ministry of Interior continues to investigate the bombings. It would be purely speculation on my part to comment now on the investigation’s findings,” he said.

Michael W. Hanna, an expert with the Century Foundation in New York, argued that the Syria-Iraq tiff created a “less than ideal” situation for the United States.

“If there was a serious belief that these bombings were in fact masterminded in Damascus, I think you would have seen a more overt U.S. role,” said Hanna. He also held out the possibility, however, that Washington’s reluctance to speak publicly on the Syria-Iraq dispute may have been out of a desire to avoid the appearance of meddling in Iraqi affairs.

Many Baath loyalists fled to Syria after the 2003 fall of Saddam, including several who are widely thought to be financing or planning attacks in Iraq. The U.S. and Iraq have long accused Damascus of not doing enough to prevent them and al-Qaida militants from crossing the border to carry out attacks in Iraq.

Ties had markedly improved between Baghdad and Damascus over the past year.

… Al-Maliki may have calculated that turning up the heat on Syria — usually a safe political bet, especially among his Shiite constituents — would boost his weakening chances of retaining his position in the parliamentary election. His status as prime minister once seemed a sure thing, after an alliance he led scored major victories in provincial elections last January. But his allies in the Shiite coalition that dominates parliament recently dumped him and his Dawa party, deeply hurting his chances of keeping a majority behind him after the upcoming vote.

Last month’s attacks discredited his claims that Iraqi forces were capable of handling security after U.S. forces pulled out of Iraqi cities in June. Increasing violence has undermined his carefully manufactured image as the leader who oversaw the insurgency’s defeat.

Now his rivals may be taking his spat with Syria as a further opportunity to erode his standing.

Shiite Vice President Adel Abdul-Mahdi issued a statement this past week pointedly saying that blaming others for failures while taking credit for successes was not the ideal way to deal with Iraq’s problems.

Iraq’s president, Jalal Talabani, and his two deputies — Abdul-Mahdi and Tariq al-Hashemi — took the unusual step of publicly scolding the prime minister over the dispute with Syria, counseling calm and complaining that he was not consulting them on issues of national interest.

Still, al-Maliki has persisted. He called on the U.N. Security Council to create an international tribunal to investigate the attacks, a move likely meant to touch a raw nerve in Damascus. President Bashar Assad’s regime has for years feared being implicated by a U.N.-appointed court investigating the 2005 assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister.

Iraqi analyst Hadi Cahlou said al-Maliki has to divert attention from the security failures, and Syria was the perfect target. “Al-Maliki was smart to export his problems,” said Cahlou. “I think he will push this all the way because he needs Syrian concessions in order to defuse the anger of Iraqis.”

But veteran Arab affairs commentator Hoda al-Husseini saw al-Maliki’s tactic as a risky gamble. Blaming Syria wins Damascus the sympathy of Sunni heavyweights Egypt and Saudi Arabia, two close U.S. allies that have always distrusted al-Maliki.

“The problem al-Maliki has is that he doesn’t have proof of Syrian involvement in the bombings,” she wrote in the newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. “Al-Maliki is all alone in this standoff.”

Land First, Then Peace
September 13, 2009
Op-Ed Contributor, New York Times

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: THE United States and other Western powers have for some time been pushing Saudi Arabia to make more gestures toward Israel. More recently, the crown prince of Bahrain urged greater communication with Israel and joint steps from Arab states to revive the peace process……

Shortly after the Six-Day War in 1967, during which Israel occupied those territories as well as East Jerusalem and the Sinai Peninsula, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution stating that, in order to form “a just and lasting peace in the Middle East,” Israel must withdraw from these newly occupied lands. The Fourth Geneva Convention similarly notes “the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

Now, Israeli leaders hint that they are willing to return portions of these occupied territories to Arab control, but only if they are granted military and economic concessions first. For the Arabs to accept such a proposal would only encourage similar outrages in the future by rewarding military conquest…..

In order to achieve peace and a lasting two-state solution, Israel must be willing to give as well as take. A first step should be the immediate removal of all Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Only this would show the world that Israel is serious about peace and not just stalling as it adds more illegal settlers to those already occupying Palestinian land.


There have been increasing well-intentioned calls for Saudi Arabia to “do a Sadat”: King Abdullah travels to Israel and the Israelis reciprocate by making peace with Saudi Arabia. However, those urging such a move must remember that President Anwar el-Sadat of Egypt went to Israel in 1977 to meet with Prime Minister Menachem Begin only after Sadat’s envoy, Hassan el-Tohamy, Sadat’s envoy, was assured by the Israeli foreign minister, Moshe Dayan, that Israel would withdraw from every last inch of Egyptian territory in return for peace. Absent a similar offer today from Israel to the leaders of Palestine, Lebanon and Syria, there is no reason to look at 1977 as a model.

President Obama’s speech in Cairo this summer gave the Arab and Muslim worlds heightened expectations. His insistence on a freeze on settlement activity was a welcome development. However, all Israeli governments have expanded settlements, even those that committed not to do so.

No country in the region wants more bloodshed. But while Israel’s neighbors want peace, they cannot be expected to tolerate what amounts to theft, and certainly should not be pressured into rewarding Israel for the return of land that does not belong to it. Until Israel heeds President Obama’s call for the removal of all settlements, the world must be under no illusion that Saudi Arabia will offer what the Israelis most desire — regional recognition. We are willing to embrace the hands of any partner in peace, but only after they have released their grip on Arab lands.

Prince Turki al-Faisal, the chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, is a former director of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence services and ambassador to the United States.

Iraq says Syria must show will to stop militants

Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:36pm EDT

[] Text [+]

Featured Broker sponsored link

By Muhanad Mohammed

BAGHDAD, Sept 11 (Reuters) – Iraq wants to see a serious effort from Syria to stop militants using it as a base before they can talk about restoring diplomatic ties, the government spokesman said on Friday.

Comments (6)

Shami said:

Dr Landis appeared on Turkish newspaper.

Husni Mahali ,is a turkish intellectual of syrian origin.

September 13th, 2009, 4:47 pm


t_desco said:

‘Der Spiegel II’ (or rather, ‘Le Figaro II’):

Beyrouth, nid d’espions
Adrien Jaulmes, envoyé spécial à Beyrouth

L’histoire de ce «secret technique» semble, quant à elle, liée à une autre affaire. «Le secret en question remonte à l’enquête sur l’assassinant de Rafic Hariri, déclare une source diplomatique à Beyrouth. Les FSI libanaises se sont alors vu confier par des services occidentaux un puissant logiciel capable d’analyser des dizaines de milliers d’appels téléphoniques, et d’en déceler les anomalies. Comme, par exemple, des téléphones portables qui ne s’activent qu’à certains moments. Ou qui ne communiquent qu’avec un ou deux numéros. C’est un outil d’enquête extraordinaire.» Le responsable de ce programme est un brillant officier, spécialiste des systèmes informatiques, le capitaine Wissam Eid. «Il est vraisemblable qu’il a découvert beaucoup de choses grâce à ce logiciel, dit une source libanaise qui souhaite rester anonyme, comme la plupart des interlocuteurs. Notamment sur les communications du Hezbollah…» Le capitaine Eid en savait-il trop ? Avait-il découvert des implications du Hezbollah dans l’attentat contre Rafic Hariri ? Toujours est-il que le 25 janvier 2008, sa voiture blindée est pulvérisée par un véhicule piégé, et le capitaine tué sur le coup.
Le Figaro

(my emphasis)

September 14th, 2009, 6:17 am


t_desco said:

French hospitality:

Not only was Siddiq, the ‘key witness’ and himself a suspect, according to Mehlis, allowed to leave France, he was apparently able to do so with “fraudulent French identification papers”, although Siddiq himself says that his French passport was “valid”:

Syrian sought over Hariri killing asserts innocence
Marten Youssef, Courts and Justice Reporter
Last Updated: September 07. 2009

He was released in 2006 and continued to live in France until March 2008, when he came to the UAE.

The State Security Public Prosecution has accused MZS of entering the UAE in March 2008 using false documents. He is also accused of possessing fraudulent French identification papers. It is not known if the document referred to in the charge is his passport.

Since his arrest was first reported in April, both Lebanon and Syria have sought his extradition. His trial, however, continues in the UAE.

MZS told the judge that he had been held in solitary confinement. “I am treated like a dog. I am not allowed to make phone calls. I am not allowed to speak to a lawyer. I am not even allowed to pray,” he shouted. He was restrained by guards from approaching the judge.

His wife, son and daughter attended the hearing.

“I did not enter this country illegally. I had a valid French passport,” MZS protested. (…)”
The National

I seldom agree with Michael Young, but he was absolutely right when he wrote this:

“But back to Siddiq. The prosecution today says that it no longer considers him a suspect or a witness. However, if he gave false testimony, there must have been a reason for this. He could have been planted to mislead or discredit investigators, which begs the question as to who put him in such a position. There are also legal implications for lying under oath. Yet the tribunal has simply decided that Siddiq isn’t of value to its work anymore, case closed. How is that remotely explainable or credible?

It is ambiguities like these that have allowed opponents of the tribunal to damage its credibility. (…)”
The Daily Star, September 03, 2009

September 14th, 2009, 10:03 am


t_desco said:


Man Sought in Hariri Murder in the Dock Adel Arafah

15 September 2009 ABU DHABI — A man wanted for interrogation in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Al Hariri was presented in an Abu Dhabi court on Monday for entering the UAE with a forged passport.
The Lebanese man allegedly entered the country with a forged Czech Republic passport, the Supreme Federal Court heard.

“I was aware of the forgery, for I was wanted by many countries for interrogation in the case of the assassination of Hariri,” he told the court.

The Public Prosecutor said the passport was not in his name. Evidence of forgery was provided in a statement to the court by the of the Czech Republic embassy in Abu Dhabi.

The court heard that the man had been living in Jebel Ali and working as a businessman, importing and exporting goods with a trade licence. He had also travelled to USA and France from here.

Dr. Fahd Al Sabhan, defence counsel, asked the judge to allow the man’s children, a 10-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, to study in the UAE. The judge said the request would be considered in the next hearing, scheduled for October 5.
Khaleej Times

September 14th, 2009, 4:03 pm


t_desco said:

Key Hariri witness on trial in UAE
By Samir Salama, Associate Editor

Dubai: A former Syrian officer, accused of misleading a United Nations investigation into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri, appeared in an Abu Dhabi court on Monday on trial for entering the UAE with fake documents.

Mohammad Zuhair Al Siddiq, who told the UN Commission to investigate the Hariri murder, resurfaced in the Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi on Monday more than a year after he disappeared from his former residence in Paris. He is wanted in both his native Syria and Lebanon for misleading investigators and obstruction of justice.

His lawyer, Dr Fahd Al Sabhan, admitted in the court that Siddiq had actually entered the UAE “on a fake Czech passport provided by the French intelligence.” Siddiq was arrested in April, according to his lawyer.
Gulfnews, September 14, 2009

Hariri tribunal asks for patience over slow-moving case

Tolbert also told Al-Arabiyya that a recent agreement signed by the STL and INTERPOL was “essential.”

The Interim Agreement, which came into force on August 24, allows the STL to request INTERPOL’s assistance for on going investigations carried out by the Office of the STL Prosecutor, Daniel Bellemare, until a more comprehensive cooperation agreement is signed. (…)
The Daily Star, September 15, 2009

(my emphasis)

Bellemare interview: no indictment yet, just a report to the SC.

September 14th, 2009, 5:27 pm


why-discuss said:

My summary
Bellmare: The TSL will not be politicized. The indictment must be a surprise. Judical indictement on Siddiki’s false testimony is not in a TSL prerogative, another forum is needed (?). Patience.. Patience, I am optimistic.

Bellemare : Le jour où je sentirai que le travail n’aboutit plus, je le dirai moi-même
Par Jeanine JALKH | 15/09/2009

Interview Après environ deux mois de repos dans son pays natal, le procureur du TSL est de nouveau sur pied et semble en pleine forme, c’est le moins qu’on puisse dire. Animé d’une énergie et d’une passion à infirmer toutes les thèses qui ont été édifiées sur sa santé, Daniel Bellemare a commencé son premier jour de travail à Leidschendam en ouvrant ses portes aux médias.

S’abstenant – comme on pouvait s’y attendre – de commenter la teneur de certains articles de presse, notamment les fameuses théories avancées par le magazine allemand Der Spiegel, il affirme qu’il n’a jamais accordé autant d’entrevues aux journalistes durant sa carrière, que depuis qu’il a été nommé à la tête de la commission d’enquête. Une fois de plus, il saisit l’occasion pour rappeler que toute information portant notamment sur le timing de la parution de l’acte d’accusation, voire tout autre renseignement relatif à l’enquête, n’est autre qu’un piège tendu dont peuvent bénéficier les criminels qui sont toujours en liberté. Des progrès, il y en a certes, et c’est précisément ce qui lui fait dire qu’il est optimiste, « très optimiste ». Un état d’âme qu’il ne manque pas de communiquer à toute son équipe dont il se plaît à vanter les qualités et surtout la compétence. Avant même qu’on lui pose la question, et pour couper court à tout soupçon émis sur une éventuelle politisation du TSL, il s’engage à dire que tant qu’il sera à la tête de ce dossier, il n’y aura pas de politisation. C’est juré. Sa philosophie : une justice à visage humain, il ne faut jamais oublier les victimes.
« Si je n’entendais pas rire à l’étage, c’est qu’il y a un vrai problème. Le rire est important. J’ai toujours dit qu’il ne faut pas se prendre au sérieux, il faut par contre prendre ce que l’on fait au sérieux. » C’est ainsi que Daniel Bellemare résume ce qu’il appelle son « principe de gestion » et sa technique de motivation du personnel qui le seconde dans sa tâche. « Il faut que les gens soient heureux car ceux qui ne le sont pas ne peuvent pas être productifs. Celui qui en profite, en définitive, c’est moi. Cela s’appelle une gestion égocentrique. »

Pour lui, c’est l’élément humain qui est le plus important et le fait d’avoir une équipe qui croit à ce qu’elle fait. D’ailleurs, le procureur ne tarit pas d’éloges sur ses coéquipiers.
« Je dois dire que suis très fier du personnel qui est à ma charge. Nous avons mis ensemble des professionnels d’un grand calibre qui croient tous à la même chose. Ils veulent faire la différence et en définitive, mettre fin à l’impunité, en amenant les terroristes devant la justice et en faisant en sorte que la fin de l’impunité puisse faire partie du paysage libanais. »
Que dire aux Libanais qui s’impatientent et dont certains ont perdu confiance dans le processus ?
« Je leur dis ce que j’ai déjà dit devant le Conseil de sécurité : les pays membres et les pays donateurs ont évidemment le droit de se poser la question de savoir si cela vaut la peine de continuer à investir dans ce processus. Et sans équivoque, je leur ai dit que oui, effectivement, le processus en vaut toujours la peine. Je leur ai également dit que j’étais très optimiste. J’ai également dit à mon équipe de travail et au personnel que je n’ai pas pris ma retraite pour être associé à un échec. Je suis toujours aussi optimiste aujourd’hui. Les choses avancent », dit-il.
M. Bellemare est conscient que les gens ne voient pas le personnel du TSL à l’œuvre. D’où le rôle des médias qui doivent transmettre un tant soit peu l’atmosphère. « Personne n’est là pour faire des mots croisés », insiste le procureur. « Tout ce que l’on peut demander c’est que les gens soient patients. »
Daniel Bellemare rappelle aussi ce qu’il a déjà dit à l’ONU : « Le jour ou je sentirai que nous sommes dans un cul-de-sac ou que le travail n’aboutit plus, à ce moment-là, il n’y aura plus besoin de faire des devinettes ou de spéculer parce que je le dirai moi-même. »
« Notre pensée va aux victimes et aux personnes qui ont été blessées. Cette cause-là n’est pas un exercice bureaucratique. Elle doit avoir un visage humain. Il faut suivre un processus préétabli, et s’assurer que les preuves recueillies sont solides. »
Pourtant, les craintes d’une éventuelle politisation du tribunal ne manquent pas. À cela, il répond : « Ceux qui me disent que le tribunal est politisé je leur réponds immédiatement en leur disant : donnez-moi les preuves. »
Rappelant que les deux décisions juridiques qui ont été prises par le tribunal depuis sa création ont été, d’une part, la demande au gouvernement de transférer le dossier et, d’autre part, la libération des généraux, il s’interroge : « Qui peut dire que ces deux décisions sont politiques ? Elles ont été fondées sur la preuve, sur le statut et sur la règle du droit. C’est ce que j’ai toujours fait et c’est ce que je continuerai à faire. Que cela déplaise à certains, c’est dommage. Mais mon mandat est clair : la règle du droit, la preuve et le respect des individus quels qu’ils soient. »
À la question de savoir comment il parvient à faire face à la tension qui existe dans un dossier tel que celui de l’assassinat de Rafic Hariri, il affirme : « Je l’avais dit et je le répète que je démissionnerai s’il y avait des interférences politiques. Ceci étant dit, il est certain que l’on évolue dans un milieu qui est plus qu’un milieu juridique. Ce que je fais est ce que j’appellerais de la diplomatie juridique. Il faut que je parle aux diplomates, aux hommes politiques. Mais cela ne veut pas dire que le TSL est politisé. Je dois m’assurer que je ne suis pas influencé dans les décisions que je prends, par ce que j’entends, ce qu’on me dit et ce que je vois. Je ne réponds qu’à ma conscience sur base d’un examen juridique de la situation. »
Peut-il au moins donner quelques éléments sur le timing de l’acte d’accusation ? « Je ne peux pas donner des échéances. Si je le faisais, ce serait irresponsable de ma part car si je donnais une échéance, cela voudrait dire que je connais déjà l’aboutissement. Les gens s’imaginent qu’une fois l’acte d’accusation déposé, les gens seront immédiatement conduits en prison. Ce n’est pas le cas », se contente d’indiquer le procureur.
Que ferait Daniel Bellemare dans le cas où les États ou individus refuseraient de coopérer ?
« C’est le président de la Cour qui négocie les ententes de coopération. Les raisons pour lesquelles les États ou les individus vont coopérer ou non vont différer d’un cas à l’autre. C’est difficile de répondre à cette question. Jusque-là l’approche du président est d’encourager à la coopération et d’expliquer le processus. Tout le monde a intérêt à coopérer, personne n’a intérêt à protéger un coupable. C’est plus la technique de la persuasion que la coercition que nous suivons. » 
Qu’en est-il des témoignages ou de la comparution par vidéoconférence prévue par le code de procédure du TSL ? N’est-ce pas une nouveauté en la matière ?
« Je peux vous dire que cette technique existe dans plusieurs pays. Il faut se mettre sur le diapason de la technologie moderne. Si certaines personnes n’ont pas besoin de venir au tribunal, nous recourrons à cette procédure. Il faut savoir que les gens ne sont pas dans une situation plus favorable avec cette technique car ils doivent prêter serment. Cela permet finalement d’éviter un déplacement et facilite les choses. Et je peux vous dire qu’au Canada, où l’on a adopté cette technique, elle s’est avérée très efficace. Nous essayons de doter le tribunal du plus d’outils possibles. Cette procédure peut être utilisée notamment pour des questions de sécurité.
Est-ce un moyen de dissuader les récalcitrants ?
« Oui aussi notamment pour ceux qui pourraient se sentir effrayés. Si on le fait dans leur pays, ce sera plus facile pour eux. Il faut mettre toutes les chances de notre côté. ».
Comment réagit-il aux propos du général Jamil el-Sayyed, qui lors de sa conférence de presse a critiqué le TSL pour avoir omis de se saisir de l’affaire des faux témoins qui ont induit l’enquête en erreur ?
« La question est de savoir qui a mandat pour le faire pour sanctionner ceux qui ont faussé l’enquête. Dans ce cas précis, ce n’est pas le TSL qui est compétent. Au moment où ces témoignages ont été recueillis devant la commission, celle-ci n’avait pas non plus le mandat de les poursuivre pour faux témoignage. C’est une question de mandat. Ya-t-il un forum qui existe où ces gens-là peuvent être poursuivis ? Peut-être. Mais malheureusement, ce n’est pas le TSL qui est compétent. Notre mandat est d’aller de l’avant et de trouver de nouveaux témoins et d’éclaircir l’affaire ».
Par contre, explique le procureur, « si le témoin venait déposer devant le TSL un témoignage et qu’il induisait le tribunal en erreur en le conduisant sur une fausse piste, à ce moment, le TSL aura alors juridiction ».
Le TSL a refusé de commenter les propos avancés par Der Spiegel. N’est-il pas en quelque sort en train de déroger à la règle de transparence en se contentant d’affirmer qu’il ne commentera pas les propos de la presse ?
« Je n’ai jamais donné autant d’entrevues. Je le fais pour que les gens continuent d’avoir confiance dans le processus. Mais il ne faut non plus tomber dans le piège qui nous est tendu pour savoir vers où s’oriente l’investigation et vers qui. La direction dans laquelle on va, les personnes qui nous intéressent doivent demeurer secrètes pour préserver la confidentialité de l’enquête. Il faut aussi savoir que ceux qui ont commis le crime sont encore en liberté. Et ce sont probablement les premiers intéressés. L’élément de surprise est important. »
Un dernier message pour les Libanais ?
« Il est facile d’accuser le TSL. Je rappelle que la décision de créer le tribunal est une décision politique. Mais à partir de là, le processus juridique a commencé. Et le politique s’est arrêté là où a commencé le juridique. Je peux juste dire que tant que je suis ici il n’y aura pas de politisation de cette institution. Les autres magistrats vous diront la même chose. Nous sommes unis par cet élément commun qui est le souci de préserver l’indépendance et la crédibilité de l’institution. »

September 14th, 2009, 7:42 pm


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