The Special Tribune for Lebanon began operating on Sunday.
Shortly after the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al Hariri on 14 February 2005, the United Nations began investigating the crime. Lebanon was still under Syrian rule at the time, and it is widely suspected that the Syrian regime and Syrian-appointed Lebanese government, military, and intelligence officials perpetrated the crime.
Since the assassination and the beginning of the investigation, myriad other politically motivated assassinations occurred, including the assassination of a police official investigating the case. The UN investigators suggested that these other assassinations are related in motive and style to the Hariri assassination.
After four years of investigations, assassinations, wars, and political turmoil, Lebanon will perhaps finally hear the truth about what happened at noon on 14 February. Regardless of whether or not the culprits will be punished, it will be a major improvement merely for the truth to be revealed.
This trial could have political consequences given that it is occurring just prior to Lebanon's 2009 parliamentary elections. These elections will define the future of Lebanon, and could dramatically effect the future relationship between the Lebanese government and the on-going Tribunal.