The Trial in relation to the 2005 assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri could start next September or October, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon said on Thursday. Tribunal Registrar Herman von Hebel said that this was a "best-case scenario".
According to Reuters, Von Hebel said that if arrests could not be made, suspects could still be tried in absentia. He stated the office of the prosecutor was expected to send a draft indictment to the pre-trial judge for confirmation "very, very soon".
The pre-trial judge could then take about six to 10 weeks to decide whether to confirm the indictment and issue arrest warrants.
Von Hebel noted preparations could be expected to take four to six months, giving a possible starting date for the trial of September or October. "That four to six (months) is a ballpark figure ... which is why I am saying second half or the end of next year is a likely scenario," he said. The Tribunal Registrar stressed that no suspects would be named publicly until an indictment was confirmed.