BBC Online : The trial of four men accused of murdering former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri has begun at an unprecedented tribunal at The Hague. The four – alleged associates of the Syria-backed militant Shia movement Hezbollah – have not been arrested and are being tried in absentia. Hariri and 22 others were killed by a massive car bomb in Beirut in 2005. The killings polarised Lebanon and led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops. Hezbollah denies any involvement. It instead says the assassination was part of an Israeli and US conspiracy. Shortly before the trial was to start, a bomb blast was reported near a government building in the town of Hermel – a Hezbollah stronghold. At least three people were killed and 26 wounded in the attack in the town, which is in the Bekaa Valley, near the northern border with Syria. In his address at the start of the trial, judge David Re said it had been decided that all necessary steps had been taken to try to bring the accused to court.