On April 29, the Lebanese National News Agency carried the following report:
The head of the Future Bloc Deputy Saad al-Hariri held a press conference in Qoreitem at 6 p.m. yesterday to talk about the decision of the [Special Tribunal for Lebanon] Pre-Trial Judge Daniel Fransen to release the "four officers." Hariri stated, “I wanted to hold this press conference following the decision issued by Judge Fransen today while awaiting the launching of the trial sessions into the assassination of martyr Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri and his companions and all the assassinations linked to it. Some Lebanese are not comfortable with this decision and are disappointed. They might be afraid for the fate of martyr Prime Minister al-Hariri’s case and all the other assassinations which targeted our national symbols.
"They might have doubts about the surfacing of the truth and the implementation of justice. For this reason, I would like to address all the Lebanese and especially those who love Rafik al-Hariri in Lebanon, in the Arab world and all around the globe, as well as all the families of the martyrs who fell on February 14, 2005 and those who fell afterward, to clearly and responsibly say to them: I, Saad al-Hariri, do not feel one bit of disappointment or fear for the fate of the Special Tribunal. What happened today marked the serious launching of the work of the tribunal and revealed it will definitely reach the killers, establish justice and protect Lebanon with God’s will. I, Saad al-Hariri, clearly and directly announce my welcoming of any decision issued by the International Court, whether it is related to the fate of the four officers or to any other issue that is part of its jurisdiction in this case…
“Since day one, we said that the International Court was not and will not be politicized, and this decision is a resounding response to all those who waged attacks against it and claimed it was indeed politicized. It should thus be an opportunity for the latter, once and for all, to stop these practices which aim at protecting the murderers, at a time when their moral and national responsibility dictates their handling of the international investigation, the international court and the decisions it will issue, in a way that is similar to their handling of the decision that was seen today…
“For our part, we assure that this decision should constitute an additional momentum for the action of the tribunal and should raise the level of its credibility so that it is able to proceed with its work until it exposes the crimes network which targeted the leaders of Lebanon. The international court will reach the truth in Lebanon and we are certain that the truth will not be lost and that the international judicial team will be able, with God’s will, to pinpoint the heads which organized the assassination crimes.
"We have said many times before we did not wish to retaliate against anyone, even not against those who were surrounded with doubts and suspicions as soon as the assassination crime occurred on February 14, or those who set up the political and media scene for the crime, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and did not spare one [measure of] pressure, blackmail or threatening tool in their open war to break martyr Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, warning him they were going to tear Lebanon apart over his head and those of the Lebanese people. We do not want retaliation against them because we want justice for Lebanon and its people and we want this justice to be a lesson for all those who believe that organized political crime can protect them from the sanctions…
“In any case, martyr Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri did not die in a car accident and was not hit by lightening. There was a criminal who planned the assassination operation and a murderer who carried it out. This criminal is not one individual, because everyone knows that no person or ordinary group could have loaded, set up and transported around 2,000 kg of explosives under a security regime that held that strings of the security game all around the Lebanese territories. Since the beginning, the Lebanese popular and political demands to see the establishment of an international court were due to the fact that Lebanese justice could not cross the borders and reach the killers wherever and how highly placed they were, while this international court can do exactly that. Therefore, for the first time in the history of political killings in Lebanon and after around 200,000 people who have fell in 35 years, someone is investigating, seeking the truth and allowing the prevalence justice... Let everyone be reassured and let the families of the martyrs and all the Lebanese people be reassured that the court is here to stay and that it is above deals. The only one who should be afraid today is the killer and no one else.”
Deputy Hariri then answered the questions of reporters.
Q: How do you interpret the fact that since the announcement of the release of the four officers, Hezbollah deputies have flocked to the house of Brigadier General Jamil al-Sayyed as though this decision was a victory for them?
Hariri: We said it before and we repeat it today. We accept any decision that is issued by the international court. Therefore, whether Hezbollah considers this decision to be a victory or not is of no concern to me.
Q: Since the first day of the assassination of Prime Minister Al-Hariri, you accused those officers. Your political and electoral project was based on this accusation and you used to call on the people not to elect the killers of martyr Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, i.e. those officers who supported the other team. Today, do you apologize to these officers for this slander?
Hariri: When the officers were arrested, this was done based on a decision issued by the international investigator. Afterwards, when the international court was established, it released them... We were not unfair to anyone and were acting in accordance with the law and now that they were released, we accepted this decision because we accept any decision issued by the court...
Q: Since day one, you said you wanted truth and justice and that you would accept any decision that is issued by the international court. Today, a decision was issued to release the detainees and not the accused. However, the signs of the exploitation of this release to be used in the coming parliamentary elections against you have already surfaced. What do you have to say to those trying to exploit this event?
Hariri: For the last four years, we have tried to accomplish clear goals for Lebanon, whether at the level of its sovereignty and independence or at the level of truth and the court whose establishment was highly resisted by the other side in the March 8 team. If there is anyone to blame for their lengthy detention it is them, because had they approved the establishment of the court since the beginning, they could have seen it was not politicized and the officers would have been released two years ago. However, the closing of the parliament and the sit-in which lasted 18 months in Martyrs’ Square, led to the situation we are currently in... For our part, we do not wish to see the politicization of the court. Therefore, if they wish to use this decision in the parliamentary elections, let them try. We know what we want and we know that the international court will uncover the murderers and the killers, for in the end, right will prevail, as martyr Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri used to say.