REPORT OF THE INTERNATIONAL
INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION COMMISSION
ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO SECURITY COUNCIL
RESOLUTION 1595 (2005)
19 October 2005
1. The Security Council, by its resolution 1595 of 7 April 2005, decided ton establish an international independent investigation Commission based in Lebanon to assist the Lebanese authorities in their investigation of all aspects of the terrorist attack which took place on 14 February 2005 in Beirut that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and others, including to help identify its perpetrators, sponsors, organizers and accomplices.
2. The Secretary-General notified the Council that the Commission began its full operations with effect from 16 June 2005. The Commission was granted an extension to the initial period of investigation mandated by the Council, until 26 October 2005.
3. During the course of its investigation, the Commission received extensive support from the Government of Lebanon and benefited from expert inputs from a number of national and international entities.
4. The main lines of investigation of the Commission focused on the crime scene, technical aspects of the crime, analysis of telephone intercepts, the testimony of more than 500 witnesses and sources, as well as the institutional context in which the crime took place.
5. The full case file of the investigation was transmitted to the Lebanese authorities during October 2005.
6. The present report sets out the main lines of enquiry of the investigation conducted by the Commission, its observations thereon, and its conclusions, for the consideration of the Security Council. It also identifies those matters on which further investigation may be necessary.
7. It is the Commission’s view that the assassination of 14 February 2005 was carried out by a group with an extensive organization and considerable resources and capabilities. The crime had been prepared over the course of several months. For this purpose, the timing and location of Mr. Rafik Hariri’s movements had been monitored and the itineraries of his convoy recorded in detail.
8. Building on the findings of the Commission and Lebanese investigations to date and on the basis of the material and documentary evidence collected, and the leads pursued until now, there is converging evidence pointing at both Lebanese and Syrian involvement in this terrorist act. It is a well known fact that Syrian Military Intelligence had a pervasive presence in Lebanon at the least until the withdrawal of the Syrian forces pursuant to resolution 1559. The former senior security officials of Lebanon were their appointees. Given the infiltration of Lebanese institutions and society by the Syrian and Lebanese intelligence services working in tandem, it would be difficult to envisage a scenario whereby such a complex assassination plot could have been carried
out without their knowledge.
9. It is the Commission’s conclusion that the continuing investigation should be carried forward by the appropriate Lebanese judicial and security authorities, who have proved during the investigation that with international assistance and support, they can move ahead and at times take the lead in an effective and professional manner. At the same time, the Lebanese authorities should look into all the case’s ramifications
including bank transactions. The 14 February explosion needs to be assessed clearly against the sequence of explosions which preceded and followed it, since there could be links between some, if not all, of them.
10. The Commission is therefore of the view that a sustained effort on the part of the international community to establish an assistance and cooperation platform together with the Lebanese authorities in the field of security and justice is essential. This will considerably boost the trust of the Lebanese people in their security system,
while building self-confidence in their capabilities.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS; MID 2004 – SEPTEMBER 2005 …… i - ii
I. PREFACE …………………………………………………….. 1-22 1-5
II. BACKGROUND ……………………………………. 23-35 5-10
III. THE CRIME ………………………………………………….. 36-38 10
IV. THE LEBANESE INVESTIGATION ……………………………….. 39-86 11-26
V. THE COMMISSION’S INVESTIGATION ………………………….. 87-202 26-52
VI. CONCLUSIONS ………………………….. 203-211 52-53
CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS, MID 2004 – SEPTEMBER 2005
· 26 August 2004, Rafik Hariri meets in Damascus with Syrian President Bashar Assad to discuss the extension of the term of President Lahoud.
· 2 September 2004, the United Nations Security Council adopts resolution 1559 concerning the situation in the Middle East, calling for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon.
· 3 September 2004, the Rafik Hariri bloc approves the extension law for President Lahoud.
· 3 September 2004, the Lebanese parliament adopts the extension law for President Lahoud and forwards it to the Lebanese government for execution.
· 7 September 2004, Economy Minister Marwan Hamadeh, Culture Minister Ghazi Aridi, Minister of Refugee Affairs Abdullah Farhat and Environment Minister Fares Boueiz, resigned from the cabinet in protest at the constitutional amendment.
· 9 September 2004, Prime Minister Rafik Hariri indicates to journalists that he will resign..
· 1 October 2004, Assassination attempt on Marwan Hamadeh, in Beirut, Lebanon.
· 4 October 2004, Rafik Hariri resigns as prime minister.
· 11 October 2004, Syrian President Bashar Assad delivers a speech condemning his critics within Lebanon and the United Nations.
· 19 October 2004, United Nations Security Council expresses concern that resolution 1559 has not been implemented.
· 20 October 2004, President Lahoud accepts Hariri’s resignation and names Omar Karame to form the new government.
· 14 February 2005, Rafik Hariri and 22 other individuals are killed in a massive blast in a seafront area of central Beirut.
· 25 February 2005, the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission arrives in Lebanon.
· 8 March 2005, Hezbollah organizes a one million strong “pro-Syrian” march.
· 14 March 2005, a Christian/Sunni-led counter demonstration demands the withdrawal of Syrian troops and the arrest of the chief of the security and intelligence services.
· 19 March 2005, a bomb explodes in Jdeideh, a northern suburb of Beirut, wounding 11 people.
· 23 March 2005, three people are killed and three others wounded in an explosion in the Kaslik shopping centre, north of Beirut.
· 25 March 2005, the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission issues its report in New York.
· 26 March 2005, a suitcase bomb explodes in an industrial zone in northeast Beirut, injuring six.
· 1 April 2005, nine people are injured in an underground garage in an empty commercial and residential building in Broumana.
· 7 April 2005, the Security Council forms the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission into the assassination of Rafik Hariri and 22 others on 14 February 2005.
· 19 April 2005, Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati announces that parliamentary elections will be held on 30 May 2005.
· 22 April 2005, General Jamil Al-Sayyed, head of the Internal Security Forces and General Ali Al-Hajj, head of the Sûreté Générale, decide to put their functions at the disposal of Prime Minister Najib al Makati.
· 26 April 2005, the last Syrian troops leave Lebanon ending a 29 year military presence.
· 26 April 2005, the United Nations Verification Mission starts its mission to verify the complete withdrawal of Syrian military and intelligence agents from Lebanon and its full compliance with the resolution 1559.
· 6 May 2005, a bomb explodes in Jounieh north of Beirut injuring 29 people.
· 7 May 2005, Parliament convenes to adopt the proposed changes to the electoral law of 2000.
· 30 May 2005, the first round of the elections was held. The Rafik Hariri Martyr List, a coalition of Saad Hariri's Future Movement, the Progressive Socialist Party and the Qornet Shehwan Gathering, won the majority of the seats in Parliament.
· 2 June 2005, journalist Samir Kassir is killed when his car explodes in east Beirut.
· 21 June 2005, former Lebanese Communist Party leader George Hawi is killed when his car explodes close to his home in Wata Musaytbeh.
· 30 June 2005, Fouad Siniora, former finance minister under Rafik Hariri, forms the new government composed of 23 ministers.
· 12 July 2005, Defence Minister Elias Murr is wounded and two other people are killed in a car bomb attack in Beirut.
· 22 July 2005, at least three people are wounded near rue Monot when a bomb explodes in the Ashrafieh quarter.
· 22 August 2005, three persons are injured in an explosion in a garage near the Promenade Hotel in the Al-Zalqa area north of Beirut.
· 16 September 2005, one person is killed and ten others wounded by a bomb near a bank in Ashrafieh.
· 19 September 2005, one person is killed and two wounded in a small explosion at the Kuwaiti information office in Beirut.
· 25 September 2005, a car bomb injures prominent news anchor, May Chidiac, in north Beirut.
1. The present report details progress made in the implementation of Security Council resolution 1595. In that resolution, adopted on 7 April 2005, the Security Council, condemning the 14 February 2005 terrorist attack in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and twenty two others, reiterating its call for the strict respect of Lebanon’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity, and noting the conclusions reached by an earlier fact-finding mission (S/2005/203), decided to establish an international independent investigation Commission (hereafter called UNIIIC or the Commission) to assist the Lebanese authorities in their investigation of all aspects of this terrorist act, in order to, among other things, help identify its perpetrators,
sponsors, organizers and accomplices.
2. Prior to the adoption of resolution 1595, the Security Council had examined the report of the fact-finding mission to Lebanon on the same subject, submitted on 24 March 2005. The report reflected the outcome of a three-week enquiry, including a set of recommendations. The fact-finding mission was of the opinion that, since the credibility of the Lebanese authorities conducting the investigation was questioned, an international independent investigation should be set up to establish the truth. For this purpose, a team with executive authority needed to be created, covering all the fields of expertise needed for such an investigation. Notwithstanding the limited time and manpower the fact finding mission was granted, its conclusions and recommendations have been of considerable value to the Commission.
3. In a letter dated 29 March 2005 (S/2005/208), the Government of Lebanon expressed its approval of the Security Council’s decision to establish an international commission of inquiry as well as its readiness to cooperate with the commission within the framework of Lebanese sovereignty and of its legal system.
4. Following the adoption of resolution 1595, intensive consultations took place regarding the establishment of UNIIIC, its staffing and its logistical support. On 26 May 2005, a small advance team headed by Commissioner Detlev Mehlis arrived in Beirut. Mindful of the urgency of the matter, from a temporary headquarters, the team
endeavored to create the support platform for its future work.
5. On 13 June 2005, after extensive discussions with the Lebanese judicial authorities, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Government of Lebanon and the Commission. The MOU detailed the modalities of cooperation between the two parties. Of particular importance to the Commission was the agreement that “the Government of Lebanon shall guarantee that the Commission is free from interference in the conduct of its investigation, and is provided with all necessary assistance to fulfill its mandate.” The Commission was to determine its own procedures, collect evidence, both documentary and physical, meet and interview any civilians or/and officials it deemed necessary and have unrestricted access to all premises throughout the Lebanese territory, taking into account Lebanese law and judicial procedures. The
Lebanese authorities, for their part, were to assist the Commission in its work by providing all documentary and material evidence in their possession and by locating witnesses as requested by the Commission.
6. On 16 June 2005, the Secretary-General declared the Commission operational. On 17 June 2005, a press conference was held by the Commissioner to solicit publicly the assistance of the Lebanese authorities and to invite the Lebanese people to help the Commission by relaying any information which might be of interest to the investigation. Two hotlines were set up for this purpose, operated by the Lebanese authorities.
7. Shortly after the signing of the MOU, the Lebanese authorities transmitted to the Commission an 8000 page case docket containing all the information and evidence collected since 14 February 2005. Henceforth, the Commission conducted a thorough criminal and judicial investigation in close cooperation with the relevant Lebanese judicial (State General Prosecutor of the Republic of Lebanon) and police (Internal Security Forces) authorities, in order to avoid duplication, overlapping or contradictory measures.
8. The Commission established close links with the Lebanese security and judicial authorities. Regular discussions were held, particularly with the judicial authorities, to exchange updated information and files, share results and plan for the emerging phases of the investigation. Most of the witnesses interviewed by the Commission were summoned through the Lebanese judicial and security authorities. A case in point was the 30 August 2005 operation, in which Lebanese security forces and UNIIIC investigators closely coordinated the house raid and search of former senior security officials, prior to their transfer under close escort to the Commission’s Main Operating Base (MOB) for interviewing.
9. The Lebanese authorities were of great assistance in establishing the MOB, as well as a Forward Operating Base (FOB) for the work of the Commission. Lebanese security teams (police and military) worked hand in hand with the Commission’s security team to ensure the safety and security of the staff and premises.
10. Although resolution 1595 gave the Commission executive authority, the Commission to a large extent was supported by the Lebanese judicial and security authorities during search and raid operations. Moreover, although the Commission was qualified to make proposals to the Lebanese authorities regarding the arrest of persons allegedly involved in the assassination, it remained the autonomous decision of the Lebanese authorities to proceed with such actions.
11. From a two-track investigation, one Lebanese, one United Nations, has emerged a complementary and unified investigation carried forward in tandem by the Commission and the Lebanese authorities. The Lebanese authorities have steadily shown the capacity to take increasing responsibility in pursuing the case. This was demonstrated by the fact that they took the initiative of arresting suspects, organizing raids and searches.
12. Given a deep mistrust that has prevailed among the Lebanese people towards their security and judicial authorities, UNIIIC has become a source of great expectation and hope for change, as well as an “interface” between the Lebanese people and their authorities. The two press conferences, particularly the first one, in addition to the interview of the first suspect, and the arrest of the former senior security officials at the Commission’s suggestion, had a catalytic effect. All of this was proof that in the eyes of the Commission, no one was above the law. This boosted Lebanese confidence. More witnesses came forward as the work of the Commission progressed. However, a number of people insisted that their identity not be disclosed to the Lebanese authorities.
13. There are other points worth highlighting. First, a number of witnesses were fearful that they would be harmed if it were known publicly that they were cooperating with the Commission. For this reason, the Commission took great care to ensure that witness interviews were conducted in a confidential manner. Because the Commission credits the concern that these individuals have for their safety, this report will not reveal the identity of those interviewed. Second, as is true in any investigation, witnesses often provide information beyond the scope of the investigation being conducted. The Commission has and will continue to forward to Lebanese authorities all information related to any criminal matter beyond the scope of the Commission’s investigation. Finally, the Commission interviewed people whose agenda was to point the Commission not in the direction to where the evidence would lead it, but in the direction the particular individual(s) wanted the Commission to go. The Commission dealt with these individuals and situations by remaining focused on its single mission – to follow the evidence wherever it might lead and not to follow the agenda of any particular person or
14. Lebanese public opinion reflects a widespread view that, once UNIIIC has delivered its report and closed down, Lebanon will be “left alone”. A prevailing fear is that, in the aftermath of the completion of UNIIIC’s work, and sooner rather than later, the Syrian security and intelligence services will be back, orchestrating a “revenge campaign” in a society which remains “infiltrated” by pro-Syrian elements. Recent bombings, assassinations, and assassination attempts have been carried out with impunity; deliberate rumors and prophetic media analyses have sustained this state of mind and have deterred potential witnesses from contacting UNIIIC.
15. Notwithstanding fears and reluctance to volunteer information as the Commission’s completion of its work seemed imminent (25 October), it is fair to say that the Lebanese people in general terms have been eager to come forward to help the Commission carry out its work.
16. The Commission could not operate in a media vacuum, particularly in Lebanon. It has been the Commission’s steadfast policy not to be drawn directly into a dialogue in the Lebanese media, avoiding any escalation and staying above any challenging or provocative statements. Both press conferences were aimed at countering such speculation and clarifying the status of the investigation. Inevitably, their effect was