Head of Hariri tribunal concerned about intimidation

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The president of the court set up to try Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri's killers on Friday expressed "great concern" in letters to the UN and Beirut about what he said were attempts to intimidate investigators.

Antonio Cassese, president of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) based in The Hague, wrote letters on Friday to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the court said in a statement.

"President Cassese conveyed the tribunal's great concern about the incident which took place in Beirut on October 27 and resulted in the injury of STL staff and the unlawful removal of STL property," it said.

On Wednesday, angry women attacked two tribunal investigators at a clinic in a Hezbollah-controlled southern suburb of Beirut, taking a briefcase from them.

"This most regrettable incident will not be allowed to jeopardise the work of the tribunal in discharging its truth-seeking mission," Cassese wrote.

"It is our firm intention not to bow to any act of interference and intimidation in carrying out our mandate in an independent and fair manner."

The tribunal was created by a 2007 UN Security Council resolution to find and try the killers of Hariri, assassinated in a massive car bombing on the Beirut seafront on February 14, 2005.

A day after the clash at the clinic, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah called on all Lebanese to end cooperation with STL investigators.

The current prime minister, son of the slain Hariri, has however vowed to see the investigation through.

The STL insisted on Friday that its investigators had done nothing wrong when they were attacked, and had been acting within the law.

Ban earlier on Friday called for an end to "intimidation" of the probe.

© 2010 AFP

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