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Hariri court opens secure tip Web site

Hariri court opens secure tip Web site

A U.N.-backed tribunal set up to investigate and prosecute the assassins of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri opened a secure Web site Thursday to receive confidential tips and intelligence from informants who may fear for their lives.
The Web site in Arabic, English and French is intended to provide a safe way for people to contact the court, which is based in the Netherlands, thousands of miles (kilometers) from the crime scene.
It is aimed at "those who might fear for their safety and security and might need assurances that they can contact us without their identity being exposed and their safety being jeopardized as a consequence," said prosecution spokeswoman Radhia Achouri.
The site includes encryption and other security measures.
Achouri said launching the site is not an indication that the court's investigations have hit a dead end. The tribunal has no suspects in custody and has issued no indictments since it opened its doors in March.
"The investigation is ongoing; it's making progress," she said.
Hariri was killed Feb. 14, 2005, along with 22 others in a massive truck bombing on a Beirut street. His supporters blame Syria for the killing, a charge Damascus denies.
The billionaire businessman and longtime ally of Syria was quietly challenging Damascus' three decades of domination over Lebanon. His killing sparked a domestic and international outcry that forced Syria and its tens of thousands of troops out of the country.
In late April, the tribunal ordered the release of four pro-Syrian generals who had been held for nearly four years as suspect in Hariri's assassination. Prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to justify their continued detention.
The high political stakes and years of violence that have plagued Lebanon mean fear of retribution is real among potential witnesses.
"We are talking about professional people who committed these crimes. They are no jokers," Achouri said. "It is a human reflex," to be scared, she said.
Information gathered through the site will be used in investigations only if it is deemed credible.
"Every piece of information is going to be thoroughly assessed and some will even not be assessed because they look so ludicrous," said Achouri.


Updated : 2021-07-26 12:22 GMT+08:00