Mehlis report
The Mehlis Report is the result of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

' investigation into the 14 February 2005 assassination of Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

's former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri. The investigation was launched in accordance with UN Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 Resolution 1595
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1595
United Nations Security Council Resolution 1595, adopted unanimously on April 7, 2005, after recalling its support for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Lebanon, the Council established a commission to assist Lebanese authorities in their investigation of the assassination...

 and headed by the German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 judge, Detlev Mehlis
Detlev Mehlis
Detlev Mehlis is currently the Senior Public Prosecutor in the Office of the Attorney General in Berlin. He has 30 years of prosecutorial experience and has led numerous investigations into serious, complex transnational crimes...

. It involved questioning of Lebanese and Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

n officials.

This report was preceded by, and should not be confused with, the UN's FitzGerald Report
FitzGerald Report
The '"Report of the Fact-Finding Mission to Lebanon inquiring into the causes, circumstances and consequences of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, 25 February - 24 March 2005,"' better known as the FitzGerald Report, is the outcome of an inquiry, ordered by the United Nations...


The final draft of the Mehlis Report was released on 20 October 2005, and found that high-ranking members of the Syrian and Lebanese governments were involved in the assassination. The report based its findings on key witnesses and on a variety of evidence including patterns of telephone calls between specific prepaid phone cards that connected prominent Lebanese and Syrian officials to events surrounding the crime.

Upon release of the first report, the term of the investigation was extended to 15 December 2005; a second report with further findings was released on 10 December 2005.

On 15 December, the Security Council voted unanimously to extended the investigation again to 15 June 2006. On 15 December, Detlev Mehlis stepped down as chief investigator to return to Berlin. On 11 January 2006, Mehlis was replaced by Serge Brammertz
Serge Brammertz
Serge Brammertz is a Belgian jurist, and the prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.Brammertz was deputy prosecutor of the International Criminal Court from 2002 to 2007...


Revealed edits

The official Mehlis Report made no specific mention of anyone in the Syrian government as responsible for the assassination. However, the report was first erroneously released as a Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word is a word processor designed by Microsoft. It was first released in 1983 under the name Multi-Tool Word for Xenix systems. Subsequent versions were later written for several other platforms including IBM PCs running DOS , the Apple Macintosh , the AT&T Unix PC , Atari ST , SCO UNIX,...

 document which preserved changes that had been made in the document since its creation. According to that document, the original U.N. report had specifically named many high-ranking Syrian government and military officials by name as being personally responsible for the death of Rafik Hariri.

For example, a previous editing of the report stated that "Maher al-Assad, Assef Shawkat, Hassan Khalil, Bahjat Suleyman and Jamil al-Sayyed" were behind the killing of Hariri. But in the official version, this is replaced by "senior Lebanese and Syrian officials". Maher al-Assad
Maher al-Assad
Maher al-Assad is the brother of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and the commander of the Republican Guard and the army's elite Fourth Armored Division, which together with Syria's secret police form the core of the country's security forces...

 is the brother of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad is the President of Syria and Regional Secretary of the Ba'ath Party. His father Hafez al-Assad ruled Syria for 29 years until his death in 2000. Al-Assad was elected in 2000, re-elected in 2007, unopposed each time.- Early Life :...

, and Assef Shawqat
Assef Shawqat
General Assef Shawkat is the deputy Minister of Defense of Syria since September 2011. He is married to Bashar Assad's sister Bushra and is from the Sunni sect. He previously served as the army's deputy chief of staff from July 2009 to September 2011. He then bypassed the position of chief of...

, a powerful figure within the regime, is married to their sister Bushra. Suleyman is a top Syrian security official and al-Sayyed, the only Lebanese of the four, was formerly the head of Lebanon's General Security Department.

Some suggest that the document indicates the report was altered to remove these names during a meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan
Kofi Atta Annan is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the UN from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2006...

, despite the fact that he had personally stated that this would not happen. Mehlis himself has denied outside influence on the report, and said that Annan did not suggest any changes. The motivation for removing the names is not known.

Witnesses Recanted and Killed

In December 2005 the UN's case against Syria came under scrutiny when a main witness of the Mehlis Report (Hussam Taher Hussam) was publicly identified and dramatically recanted his testimony, claiming he had been bribed and tortured by Lebanese interests to testify against Syria.

However, the 10 December Mehlis Report asserts receipt of "credible information that, prior to Mr. Hussam's recent public recantation of his statement to the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission
United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission
The United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission was established in April 2005 by Security Council Resolution 1595 to investigate the assassination of Rafic Hariri, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon on 14 February 2005....

 (UNIIC), Syrian officials had arrested and threatened some of Mr. Hussam's close relatives in Syria."

Similar circumstances surround Zuhair Ibn Muhammad Said Saddik, who was later revealed to be the unnamed primary witness in the report. He originally approached the commission with detailed information about the planning of the attack but then later changed his testimony and confessed to participating in the attack. In his testimony, Saddik said that senior Syrian and Lebanese officials had met in his apartment to plan the assassination. He is currently under arrest in Paris at the request of Mehlis for his possible involvement in the Hariri assassination. Subsequent to this, the UN commission which had submitted the Mehlis Report to the UN security council has raised serious doubts about the reliability and the credibility of Saddik's declarations.

Nawar Habib Donna, a Tripoli cell phone dealer who sold five of the eight prepaid phone cards connected to the killing, was killed in an apparent car accident in November 2005.

External links

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