Over 60 seek victim status in Hariri trial: court

1st November 2011, Comments 0 comments

More than 60 people have applied for victim status in the trial of Lebanese ex-premier Rafiq Hariri's alleged assassins, the tribunal that will hear the case said Tuesday.

If granted, victims will be allowed to take part in the trial by questioning witnesses, producing evidence and filing petitions, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon said in a statement.

"The applicants are members of various Lebanese communities and include persons who suffered different kinds of harm as a result of the 14 February 2005 attack" that killed Hariri and 22 others.

The applications will be weighed by a pre-trial judge in a process that "might take several months", said the tribunal.

The court has indicted Hezbollah operatives Salim Ayyash, Mustafa Badreddine, Hussein Anaissi and Assad Sabra for the 2005 suicide car bomb attack in Beirut. They have not been arrested.

Pressure has been mounting on Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati to deliver on his pledge to continue cooperating with the court and pay the country's overdue annual share of the fees that for 2011 amounts to about $35 million (25.2 million euros).

Hassan Nasrallah, head of the Syrian- and Iranian-backed Hezbollah -- which dominates Mikati's government -- last week reiterated his opposition to Lebanon's funding of the court.

Under the tribunal's rules, no victim can be paid damages in the case of a guilty verdict.

But they can ask their respective national jurisdictions to pay them indemnities.

© 2011 AFP

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