In reporting the war in Lebanone, the mass media seldom specified "Maronite Catholics."

"Maronite Catholics" are a Roman Catholic subsect; in full communion with the Roman pontiff.

JUNE 16, 1994

Associated Press

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) -- The leader of the main Christian militia in Lebanon's 15-year civil war was charged Thursday with the slaying of a rival Christian leader in the final days of the war.

It was the second charge of terrorism this week against Samir Geagea, who opposes the half-Christian, half-Muslim government under billionaire Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Geagea has been accused of seeking to establish a breakaway Christian mini-state with Israel's backing.

Geagea was charged Monday in a Feb. 27 bombing of a church in the Christian port of Jounieh that killed 10 worshipers and wounded 60. Geagea, 42, faces the death penalty if convicted on either count.

He has denied all charges, accusing the government of trying to stifle opposition by blaming his Lebanese Forces, the most important Christian militia during the 1975-1990 civil war.

Twelve other Lebanese Forces members are accused in the assassination of of rival Maronite Catholic politician Dany Chamoun.

Chamoun, 56, was killed along with his wife and two young sons by uniformed gunmen who broke into the family's residence in suburban Baabda at dawn on Oct. 21, 1990. Chamoun's infant daughter survived after a maid hid her.

Chamoun, son of the late president Camille Chamoun, was leader of the right-wing Christian National Liberal Party.

Both Geagea and Chamoun were vying for Lebanon's presidency, which is traditionally held by Maronite Catholics, the nation's largest Christian sect.

Chamoun's slaying occurred during the chaotic days that followed the Syrian army's ouster of rebel Christian army Gen. Michel Aoun from the presidential palace. It was the war's last major battle, and hundreds of people were killed.

The Lebanese Forces were outlawed in March in the crackdown that followed the bombing of the Jounieh church. Geagea was arrested in April.