(Reuters) - The U.N.-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri handed over indictments and four arrest warrants to Lebanon Thursday, the state prosecutor said.
Ayman, Saad, Fahd, and Ouday al-Hariri,
sons of the slain Premier Rafik al-Hariri
The long-awaited move was hailed as a "historic moment" by Hariri's son, opposition leader Saad al-Hariri, who urged the government of Najib Mikati to cooperate with the court.
Prosecutor Saeed Mirza did not disclose the contents of the indictments, but they are expected to accuse four Hezbollah members of involvement in the Feb 14. 2005 bombing in Beirut which killed Rafik al-Hariri and 22 others.
Hezbollah, both a political movement and guerrilla army, which with its political allies forms a majority in Mikati's new government, denies any role in Hariri's killing and has called the court a tool of Israel and the United States.
It has vowed not to hand over any of its members and wants Lebanon to end cooperation with the tribunal, withdraw Lebanese judges and halt its contribution to the court's funding.
Hezbollah has been strengthening its position in Lebanon--not only militarily, in defiance of the UN Resolution that brought an end to the Hezbollah-Israel war, but politically as well.
Najib Mikati, the new Lebanese Prime Minister, had both Syria's and Hezbollah's support for his new position, so it is unlikely that he will just hand the 4 Hezbollah members over.
Left unanswered is the question of Iranian involvement. After all, would Hezbollah do anything so drastic as the assassination of someone so popular in Lebanon without the approval of its mentor?
The indictments are finally out.
Now let's see if it matters.