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Hariri tribunal rejects legal challenges
Special tribunal for Lebanon rejects challenges, vows to push ahead with trials in March
By The Associated Press

LEIDSCHENDAM, Netherlands (AP) Judges at the U.N.-backed tribunal investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri have rejected challenges to the court's jurisdiction by lawyers for four men set to be tried in absentia in March.

The lawyers argued in June that the court has no right to exist and no jurisdiction over Lebanese citizens.

But judges said Monday the court is empowered by a U.N. resolution that Lebanon has accepted.

Hariri, once one of Lebanon's most powerful Sunni leaders, was killed along with 22 others by a truck bomb on Feb. 14, 2005. The court has indicted four members of the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah group which, along with its allies, now holds a majority in Lebanon's Cabinet.

Hezbollah denies involvement in Hariri's killing and has refused to extradite the suspects.

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