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January 25, 2002
More on the Elias Hobeika assassination



Dear Friends,

Although all the facts are not yet known, the car bombing that killed former Phalangist milita leader and former Lebanese Minister of Electricity Elias Hobeika and three other individuals today in Beirut is of significance to the case brought in Belgium on behalf of the victims and survivors of the Sabra and Shatila massacres.

We will be adding a full report and analysis of this event to our website (www.indictsharon.net/) within the next 24 hours. In the meantime, I have just received the following statement (first in French and then in English) from the three lawyers representing the plaintiffs in Belgium, Chibli Mallat of Lebanon and Belgians Luc Walleyn and Michael Verhaeghe, which provides additional context for understanding and appraising the elimination of Elias Hobeika.

In conversations this morning with a leading Beirut newspaper editor and a member of the Beirut Committee of this campaign, I learned that most journalists and political pundits in the Lebanese capital interpret Hobeika's killing as a sign that "someone is very afraid and threatened by developments in Belgium."

The last paragraph of the following statement sums up the spirit and the principles animating our entire campaign.

Please share this with all your lists and contacts.

Laurie King-Irani

Press Statement

The dramatic news which has just reached us from Lebanon this morning about the death of Mr Elie Hobeika and his companions in a car bomb attack has shocked us profoundly. Mr Hobeika had expressed several times his wish to collaborate with the Belgian enquiry on the massacres of Sabra and Chatila. This determination was again reported widely on the eve of his assassination.

The elimination of a key protagonist, who had offered to assist with the enquiry, appears as an evident attempt to undermine the case, and reinforces the international campaign which seeks to prevent any examination before a neutral forum of a crime against humanity which has remained unpunished.

As lawyers of the victims, we firmly denounce this assassination. In closing our pleadings yesterday before the Court of Appeal, we repeated that the victims are engaged in a judicial procedure which jars with the tradition of violent settlement of the conflicts in the region. Those behind the assassination clearly follow a logic of war which seeks to prevent the pursuit of an alternative of non-violence, law, and justice.

Brussels, 24 January 2002


Communiqué de presse

Les nouvelles dramatiques qui nous sont parvenues du Liban ce matin sur la mort de M.Elie Hobeika et de ses compagnons dans un attentat, nous choquent profondément. M. Hobeika avait à plusieurs reprises exprimé son souhait de collaborer avec l'instruction belge sur les massacres de Sabra et Chatila, détermination à laquelle des organes de presse ont encore fait écho à la veille de son assassinat.

L'élimination d'un protagoniste essentiel, qui avait offert de collaborer à l'enquête, apparaît comme une tentative évidente de saboter l'instruction, et rejoint la campagne internationale qui vise à empêcher tout examen judiciaire neutre d'un crime contre l'humanité demeuré impuni.

En tant qu'avocats des victimes, nous dénonçons cet attentat de la manière la plus ferme. En clôturant hier nos plaidoieries devant la Chambre des Mises en Accusation, nous avons encore rappellé qu'en engageant une procédure judiciaire, les victimes ont entrepris une démarche unique qui tranche avec la tradition du règlement violent des conflits dans la région. Ceux qui ont commis cet attentat poursuivent manifestement une logique de guerre qui vise à empêcher une alternative de non-violence, de droit et de justice.

Bruxelles, le 24 janvier 2002