Canada Welcomes Opening Trial at Special Tribunal for Lebanon

January 16, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:

“Canada welcomes the opening of the first trial at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. This is an important step toward bringing those responsible for the political assassinations of former prime minister Rafik Hariri and others to account.

“Canada remains a committed partner in the global struggle against terrorism in all its forms. We have been a strong supporter of this tribunal.

“Canada is grateful for the Lebanese government’s support of and cooperation with the Tribunal, and we will continue to work with the government to strengthen democracy, the rule of law and security in Lebanon and the region.”

Canada listed Hezbollah as a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code in December 2002 and listed its principal backer, Iran, as a state supporter of terrorism under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act in September 2012.

A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - Canada and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) was established in March 2009 under UN Security Council Resolution 1757 to investigate the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri and 21 other people. The STL has indicted five suspects; all are members of Hezbollah, including one who is believed to be the commander of the organization’s military wing. Despite facing considerable opposition from Hezbollah and its allies, trials started on January 16, 2014.

The Government of Canada has contributed more than $6.5 million to the STL through Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada’s Global Peace and Security Fund and in secondments of police officers. Canada also serves as vice-chair of the STL’s Management Committee, which provides administrative and budgetary oversight to the Tribunal. Former deputy attorney-general of Canada Daniel Bellemare was the STL’s first prosecutor. He was succeeded in 2012 by fellow Canadian Norman Farrell.