BFnews: An investigation by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp claimed that a Lebanese police officer and UN investigators unearthed “extensive circumstantial evidence” implicating Hezbollah in Hariri’s assassination.
The UN International Independent Investigation Commission's findings are based on an elaborate examination of Lebanese phone records, the Canadian report said. It added that the work of the commission, whose mandate has expired, has been given to the UN Special Tribunal, which will carry out prosecutions.
A spokesman for the United Nations, Farhan Haq, declined to comment Sunday night on the substance of the allegations, referring questions to the tribunal. But he said the UN has made it clear to CBC that the UN documents cited in its report "are United Nations documents enjoying inviolability under Article II of the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations. Inviolability entails that United Nations documents cannot be disclosed to a third party, copied or used without the consent of the United Nations. Beyond that, I have no further comment on the documents at this stage."
The CBC report said that the head of the UN tribunal, Daniel Bellemare, declined a request to comment, and others in his office did not respond to phone calls.
The CBC's reporting also uncovered an internal UN document indicating that a top Lebanese intelligence official, Colonel Wissam al-Hassan, who serves as Lebanon's key liaison with the UN investigators, was considered by some UN sleuths as a potential suspect. Hassan oversaw security for Hariri at the time of the assassination but had taken the day off to take an examination at a university.
A confidential internal UN memo, dated March 10, 2008, prepared for the commission's top investigator, Garry Loeppky, said Hassan's "alibi is weak and inconsistent" and recommended that he be "investigated quietly" to determine whether he played a role in Hariri's killing. But the CBC report stated that the commission's management "ignored the recommendation" to investigate Hassan.
The report also faulted the UN for misplacing a vital piece of evidence - a complex analysis of Lebanese phone records that allegedly pinpointed the phones used by Hariri's killers - in the early months of the investigation. It also criticized the UN commission for failing to provide sufficient security for a key Lebanese officer, Colonel Wissam Eid, who was killed after helping the UN unravel the crime mystery.