A UN-backed tribunal in the Netherlands is delivering verdicts Tuesday in the trial in absentia of four members of the Hezbollah militant group who are accused of involvement in the truck bomb assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
The verdicts were delayed by nearly two weeks as a mark of respect for victims of another devastating explosion - the detonation of nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate stored at Beirut’s port.
The August 4 blast killed around 180 people, injured more than 6,000, left a quarter of a million with homes unfit to live in and plunged a nation already reeling from economic and social malaise even deeper into crisis.
Presiding Judge David Re called for a minute's silence to start the hearing to honor victims of the blast and their families as well as those made homeless by the port blast.
During the trial, which started in 2014 and spanned 415 days of hearings, the tribunal in Leidschendam, near The Hague, heard evidence from 297 witnesses.
Initially, five suspects were tried, all of them Hezbollah members.
Charges against one of the group’s top military commanders, Mustafa Badreddine, were dropped after he was killed in Syria in 2016.
The remaining suspects are Salim Ayyash, also known as Abu Salim; Assad Sabra, Hassan Oneissi, who changed his name to Hassan Issa and Hassan Habib Merhi.
They are charged with offenses including conspiracy to commit a terrorist act.
If they are convicted, hearings will be held at a later date to determine their sentences.
As the UN-backed court has no death sentence, the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.
None of the men is every likely to serve time as Hezbollah has vowed not to hand over any suspects.
Prosecutors and defense lawyers can appeal the verdicts.