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Lebanon president opposes Hariri tribunal proposal

[JURIST] Lebanese President Emile Lahoud [official website] voiced objections to a draft document governing the special tribunal [JURIST report] to be tasked with trying suspects in the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive] in a 32-page report released Monday. Lahoud balked at his exclusion from the organization of the tribunal under UN auspices since the Lebanese constitution [text] grants him the power to negotiate and approve international treaties [AP report]. Lahoud also called for changing the title of the tribunal from "special" to "a tribunal with international status" in order to avoid connotation with other special tribunals such as the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda [official website] and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia [official website].

UN Legal Counsel Nicolas Michel [official profile] submitted the draft proposal [JURIST report] to the Lebanese government and the UN Security Council last week after lengthy negotiations. Previous reports by a special UN commission [UN materials] have implicated Syrian officials in the assassination [JURIST report], in which an explosion on the Beirut waterfront killed Hariri and 22 others. The UN was authorized to help Lebanon establish a tribunal under UN Security Council Resolution 1644 [text]. AFP has more. From Beirut, the Daily Star has local coverage.

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