The Lebanese National Bloc party released the following statement:
Appeals judges at Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) sentenced two members of the militant Hezbollah group to life imprisonment for their roles in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and the deaths of 21 other people in 2005.
The indictment places the Lebanese authorities in front of a dual responsibility. On the one hand, it must prosecute and apprehend the three fugitives Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hassan Habib Merhi and Hussein Hassan Oneissi. On the other, the government must negotiate with the “STL” in order to refer the other lingering cases to the Lebanese judiciary including the 2005 assassination of George Hawi, as well as the attempted murders of Marwan Hamadeh in 2004 and Elias Murr in 2005 - all prominent Lebanese politicians. The tribunal had planned to conduct trials, yet has not been able to issue any verdict so far due to the suspension of its work under the pretext of lack of funding.
The work of the judiciary is being disrupted again in the Rafik Hariri case, with the issuance of two new indictments against Merhi and Oneissi, whilst Hezbollah insists on refusing to hand them over, as it has previously done with Salim Ayyash. Hezbollah disruption proves that the establishment of a state is tightly linked with the collapse of the corrupted ministate within. For justice to be achieved, it is vital for all parties to recognize, accept, and embrace the rule of law and respect its judiciary and institutions.
As for Hezbollah’s stubbornness and rebelling against the truth that is manifested either by threatening the Lebanese judiciary, or by accusing the international justice of treason at other times, is nothing but an unconvincing attempt to evade accountability, which represents the gravest threats to sustainable peace in Lebanon.