THE HAGUE, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- The start of the trial of four suspects for the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri "is a very important milestone," Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans said Thursday.
"This is a positive step in the fight against impunity of many politically-motivated attacks in Lebanon," Timmermans added.
The special tribunal for Lebanon, based near The Hague, began the trial Thursday with opening statements by chief prosecutor Norman Farrell.
A case has been brought against four suspects for the assassination of Hariri, who was killed in Feb. 2005 when a bomb exploded in the Lebanese capital Beirut. The explosion killed 22 individuals and injured 226 others.
The proceedings against the four accused are being held in absentia because they are still at large. The indictment and accompanying arrest warrants were transmitted to the Lebanese authorities on June 30, 2011.
According to media reports, the four accused, Mustafa Badreddine, Salim Ayyash, Hussein Oneissi and Assad Sabra, are said linked to the Hezbollah movement.