NNA - In a press release by Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri's Information Bureau on Tuesday, it indicated that Hariri attended this morning the opening of the final hearings of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon at the headquarters of the STL in The Hague.
On emerging, Hariri spoke to awaiting journalists outside the STL, saying, "I came to attend the opening of the final hearings of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, where the Prosecution and the Defense Offices make their closing arguments before the judges issue their verdict in this case."
"There is no doubt that this day is difficult for me, as the son of Rafic Hariri. Rafic Hariri, and the other martyrs of March 14, fell to protect Lebanon, not to destroy it. Therefore, from the start, we demanded justice because we believe that justice and the truth protect Lebanon. This is what we always wanted and we never resorted to revenge. Rafic Hariri was not a man of revenge but of justice and we will continue on this path," Hariri asserted.
He added: "Other relatives of the victims were also present today. Within a few months, the verdict will be issued, and justice will be achieved. This justice that we have always demanded. It may have taken some time, and maybe with time, one becomes calmer. He sees the facts, and reflects. For me, the most important thing is the country. Like my father used to say, no one is greater than his country."
"I want to thank all those who worked in this Tribunal, the judges and lawyers," Hariri went on. "This is the first time in such tribunals that even the accused have defense lawyers. I want to thank the United Nations and all those who helped achieve this Tribunal. Lebanon witnessed many assassinations, but the truth was never revealed. This time, truth will be revealed hopefully. Those who committed this crime will pay the price, sooner or later."
Question: The Prosecution Office said that some in Hezbollah's leadership, and not just members, might be involved?
Hariri: I am just like you, I don't know what the final verdict will be. Let us wait. We want to live together in the country, we want the interest of the country. You remember that I came here a few years ago and said things that surprised some people. Because I believe that in Lebanon, everyone should be represented. Let us not get ahead of things.
Question: When you hear about the relation between Hezbollah and this crime, what do you feel? Do you extend your hand to Hezbollah that is accused of killing Rafic Hariri?
Hariri: When one is in my position, one has to put one's feelings aside.
Question: Some are linking the Tribunal to the formation of the government and what is happening in the region. What do you say?
Hariri: I say that if everyone stops being greedy about the ministerial portfolios, the government will be formed.
Question: What will be the repercussions of the Prosecution's arguments and all the proofs in Beirut?
Hariri: These proofs were already known. Now, each office is presenting its final arguments to the judiciary so that the judges give their final verdict.
Question: Sayyed Nasrallah said, "Do not play with fire with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon." Today, what is your stance after hearing that Martyr Premier Rafic
Hariri represented a dangerous threat to the Syrian interests in Lebanon and that this is the political background of the crime?
Hariri: Regarding the Syrian regime, I have no doubt that it had a huge problem with Martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. I want to deal with this issue as a responsible official who has the responsibility to protect the country and the Lebanese people. We recall that Martyr Hariri sought during all his life Lebanon's stability, calm, prosperity and reconstruction. Thus, there are things that hurt, but when in a position of responsibility, we have to look at the country's interest.
PM-designate Hariri then said in English: "I want to thank everyone who worked on this case in the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the judges, the prosecution and the defense. This the first time in Lebanon that we see such a procedure for an assassination. As you know, we have witnessed many assassinations of presidents, prime ministers, members of parliament, journalists, who fell in the name of justice or in the name of a cause in Lebanon. It is the first time we see such a procedure and I thank everyone. The coming ten days are dedicated to the closing statements of the Prosecution and the Defense and we will be waiting within a few months for the final decision of the judges. Then we will assume our responsibility as a government, to see how to move forward. We always insist on the stability and security of Lebanon."
Asked about the possible repercussions of the verdict, Hariri said: "We faced many challenges during the last years. But I believe in God and in the fact that those who committed this crime will be punished sooner or later. This may take some time, maybe more than expected, but we have faith in God."