[JURIST] The UN Security Council late Thursday unanimously approved a six-month extension of the probe into the February assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri [JURIST news archive; UN materials] just before the mandate of the investigatory commission currently headed by German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis was set to expire. Mehlis submitted his latest report [JURIST report; UN News report] to the UN Security Council Tuesday, renewing his contention that Syrian officials were involved in the 2004 but commending Syria for allowing the UN commission to question five Syrian officials [JURIST report]. Mehlis will step down from his post [JURIST report] as soon as a replacement is named, while the UN Security Council struggles to complete negotiations to extend the investigation for another six months.
Lebanon has asked for an extension of the investigation [JURIST report] in early December. The US, France and Britain wanted to expand the commission to include investigations of other politically motivated killings in Lebanon, while Russia, China and Algeria sought to tone down the language of the text that criticizes Syria. A draft expressed deep concern that Syria was attempting to hinder the UN investigation. Reuters has more on Syrias cooperation and the UN negotiations prior to this afternoon's approval.