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Annan submits Hariri tribunal proposal to Security Council

[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan [official profile] has submitted to the UN Security Council [official website] a proposal [JURIST report] on establishing an international tribunal to try suspects in the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive], a spokesman for Annan said Thursday. Annan submitted the proposal [press release] despite the rejection [JURIST report] of Lebanese President Emile Lahoud [official profile] of his cabinet's approval [JURIST reports] of the UN draft proposal. Lahoud said the cabinet endorsement was illegitimate and unconstitutional because he had not endorsed the vote [JURIST report]. In a letter to Annan, Lahoud refused to accept the vote as binding on the government of Lebanon. If the Security Council approves the proposal, Lebanon must still enter into a formal agreement authorizing the tribunal.

Although the UN's plan has not been made public, the tribunal is expected to be based outside Lebanon and will use a combination of Lebanese and international judges. Previous reports by the UN's Hariri investigatory commission [UN materials] implicated Syrian officials [JURIST report] in the assassination. Hariri and 22 others were killed in a massive explosion on the Beirut waterfront. The UN's authority to help Lebanon establish the tribunal stems from UN Security Council Resolution 1644 [text]. Reuters has more.

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