5UN LEGAL CHIEF HOLDS TALKS IN BEIRUT OVER HARIRI TRIBUNAL IMPASSE
- Apr 20, 2007Apologies for cross posting...
From: UNNews@... [mailto:UNNews@...]
Sent: donderdag 19 april 2007 22:01
Subject: UN LEGAL CHIEF HOLDS TALKS IN BEIRUT OVER HARIRI TRIBUNAL
UN LEGAL CHIEF HOLDS TALKS IN BEIRUT OVER HARIRI TRIBUNAL IMPASSE New
York, Apr 19 2007 4:00PM The United Nations Legal Counsel Nicolas
Michel has held talks with Lebanon's key Government and parliamentary
leaders as he continues his visit to try to help the country's political
forces end their impasse and establish a tribunal to try the alleged
killers of former prime minister Rafik Hariri.
Mr. Michel has met Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, President Emile Lahoud
and Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri, as well as other
parliamentarians and political figures since arriving in Beirut on
Tuesday, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters today.
All of Mr. Michel's interlocutors have expressed their support for the
tribunal's establishment, Ms. Montas said, adding that the Legal Counsel
has stressed in the meetings that it is in the interest of all to have
the tribunal set up within Lebanon's constitutional process.
Mr. Michel was dispatched to Beirut by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to
offer legal assistance to the Lebanese as they work towards
parliamentary ratification of the agreement on setting up the tribunal.
Such ratification is necessary for the tribunal to enter into force.
Mr. Ban said last week that he hoped Mr. Michel's trip would help to
"clarify all concerns or apprehensions" that might exist about the
tribunal. Lebanon's parliamentary forces have been deadlocked on the
issue and there has been no vote yet on ratification.
Mr. Michel, who is also Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, is
scheduled to hold further meetings in Beirut tomorrow.
The planned tribunal will be of "an international character" to deal
with the assassination of Mr. Hariri, who was killed along with 22
others in a massive car bombing in downtown Beirut in February 2005.
Once it is formally established, it will be up to the tribunal to
determine whether other political killings in Lebanon since October 2004
were connected to Mr. Hariri's assassination and could therefore be
dealt with by the tribunal.
In April 2005 the Security Council set up the International Independent
Investigation Commission (IIIC) after an earlier UN mission found that
Lebanon's own inquiry into the Hariri assassination was seriously flawed
and that Syria was primarily responsible for the political tensions that
preceded the attack. Its mandate runs out next year.
Serge Brammertz, the current head of the IIIC, told the Council last
September that evidence obtained so far suggests that a young, male
suicide bomber, probably non-Lebanese, detonated up to 1,800 kilograms
of explosives inside a van to assassinate Mr. Hariri.
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