LONDON, September 20 - RAPSI. The hearings, held as part of the inquest into the death of former Security Service officer Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006, must commence in 2013, judge Robert Owen said.

The preliminary hearing is to be held in London on Thursday, its goal is to define the inquest's time frame, witnesses and other administrative procedures.

Parties involved in the inquest include Marina Litvinenko, the wife of the late Alexander Litvinenko, Boris Berezovsky, who was a close friend and a sponsor of Litvinenko, Andrei Lugovoy, the main suspect in the murder of Litvinenko based on the British investigation, the City of London Police, the Crown Prosecution Service, and the UK government (in charge of British special services). Also, a representative of the Russian embassy in the United Kingdom and several dozens Russian and foreign journalists have been attending the trial.

During the preliminary hearing, it was recalled once again that an inquest is different from a criminal investigation and its goal is to discover the circumstances and causes behind the death of the deceased.

Former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko, who fled to the UK in 2000, died on November 24, 2006, at the age of 44 after spending a month in the hospital.

British doctors diagnosed Litvinenko's death as polonium-210 poisoning. He had met with Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun shortly before his death.

British officials have accused Lugovoy of murdering Litvinenko, and stated they have sufficient evidence to charge him with the murder. Lugovoy said the charges against him are politically motivated.