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STL: "It is the time of justice for Lebanon", says Hariri

BEIRUT | iloubnan.info, with agencies - January 16, 2014, 16h34

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri gave a statement on Thursday from Leidschendam after having participated to the opening session of the Special tribunal for Lebanon.

"We are here today thanks to the Lebanese people and their will," he stated. "We are here thanks to their patience and persistence, to the precious sacrifices offered by all of us, and to the will of the Lebanese people who never stopped demanding truth, justice and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon."

"Our presence here today is in itself a proof that our stance, since the first moment, and every moment, was and will continue to be: seeking justice, not revenge, punishment and not vengeance.

"Today is a historic day by excellence," he said.

"Premier Rafik Hariri is strongly present today, as well as all the martyrs who died with him and those who fell after him, including the latest beloved ones in the convoy of martyrs, Mohammed Shatah and his body guard, and the hundreds of victims who died in the bombings and the political assassinations.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon has begun and the path of justice will not stop.
From now on, any attempt to try to disrupt this path will be vain."

"Protecting the accused in the assassination of Premier Rafik Hariri and his companions and insisting on not handing them to justice, is a crime added to the main crime."

"We were certainly appalled to have a Lebanese group accused in this crime, based on evidence and extensive investigations.
We never thought that there would be, in the ranks of the Lebanese, people who could sell themselves to the devil and volunteer to kill Rafik Hariri and execute the most horrible terrorist operation with that enormous amount of explosives. "

"The assassination crime of Premier Rafik Hariri and his companions, and the political assassinations which Lebanon witnessed, have contributed to sabotage national life in our country. The executors, planners and implementers remained unknown for long years, until the will of the Lebanese led the international community to make the historic decision of taking possession of the investigation and bringing the accused to the international justice. "

"Starting today, the eyes and the sentiments of the Lebanese people are drawn to the work of this tribunal which opened the first page of true justice, and laid the required cornerstone to fight political assassination and organized crime in Lebanon and the Arab world."

"On this occasion, I emphasize the role of the concerned Lebanese authorities in seriously cooperating with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. I thank the Lebanese judiciary, the internal security forces, and all the official forces for their efforts in supporting the investigation. I cannot but recall the great scarifies, in this respect, of martyrs Wissam Hassan and Wissam Eid, and the living martyr Samir Shehade."

"My deep thanks also go to the United Nations General Secretariat, to all the States that contributed to the financing of the Tribunal, and to the bodies and persons who cooperated to reach this historic moment. My special thanks go to the international investigation team, the general prosecutors who led the investigations, and the judicial system which offers the Lebanese and the world a shining model for transparent and fair justice."
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