As the trial of suspects in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri begins, I confess to having mixed feelings about the process that led us to this stage. Despite the optimism in March 14, the trial comes across as one that makes the best of a process that should have gone differently.


Supporters of the tribunal will continue to defend the length of the investigation as normal in a complicated crime. Perhaps, but anyone who followed the aftermath of the Hariri assassination closely, by this time knows that there were unnecessary delays before the indictment was issued, and, more disturbing, that investigative shortcomings ensured that important avenues of exploration were not pursued.


The indictments are heavily based on analysis of the communications of the alleged perpetrators rather than on the testimony of witnesses. Thanks to a documentary by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), we know that the second commissioner of the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC), Serge Brammertz, delayed telecommunications analysis until after this was undertaken by a Lebanese police officer, Wissam Eid.  [Link]