Opening statements have been heard at the start of the trial of four men accused of murdering former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
The men are alleged members of the militant Shia movement Hezbollah. They have not been arrested and are being tried in absentia. The blast was a seminal moment in the history of Lebanon.
Hariri was one of the country’s most influential Sunni leaders and his supporters blamed Syria. Demonstrations followed on the streets against Syrian troops who had been stationed in the country since 1976. The forces withdrew a few months later. The blast led to heightened tensions between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims.
One of the four is alleged to be a senior military commander. Hezbollah denies any involvement claiming the assassination was part of an Israeli and US conspiracy. The trail will hear 500 witness statements and could last months or, possibly, years.