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UN Security Council approves further extension of Hariri assassination probe

[JURIST] The UN Security Council on Thursday voted to extend the mandate [press release] of the UN International Independent Investigation Commission [UN materials] probing the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive] for an additional year until mid-June 2007. The Council's vote follows the recommendation of Serge Brammertz, deputy prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and head of the Hariri investigation. Brammertz presented the commission's fourth interim report [PDF] to the Security Council on Wednesday and said that the investigation has led to evidence that Hariri was a victim of a targeted assassination [press release]. Brammertz also noted a definite connection [AFP report] "in the modus operandi and their possible intent" between the Beirut bomb that killed Hariri and 22 others and 14 other attacks on anti-Syrian Lebanese leaders. Previous probe reports have implicated Syrian officials in the assassination [JURIST report].

In response to Brammertz's contention that Syria has "responded to all the commission's requests in a timely manner and in some instances comprehensive responses were provided," US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton [official website] told reporters Wednesday that Syria is not fully cooperating with the UN probe [statement; Reuters report]. According to Bolton, Brammertz's comments suggest that Syria gave many responses that were not comprehensive, though the report itself also said that cooperation with Syria has "developed further," and that their participation has been "generally satisfactory." BBC News has more. The UN News Centre has additional coverage.

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