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Lebanon cabinet approves Hariri tribunal amidst political uncertainty

[JURIST] Lebanon's cabinet approved a UN draft proposal for an international judicial tribunal to try suspects in the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive], but six pro-Syrian cabinet members have resigned since Sunday, possibly rendering the cabinet decision invalid. Lebanon's constitution [text] requires that the cabinet include representatives from all Lebanese political factions when making decisions. The other 18 cabinet members, however, approved the tribunal plan, satisfying the constitutional requirement that two-thirds of the cabinet must support an action for it to be legitimate. The UN submitted the international tribunal proposal [JURIST report] to Lebanon last week, and now Lebanon will return the draft to the UN Security Council for final authorization.

Previous reports by the UN's Hariri investigatory commission [UN materials] implicated Syrian officials [JURIST report] in the assassination, accomplished in a massive explosion on the Beirut waterfront killed Hariri and 22 others. The UN is authorized to help Lebanon establish a tribunal to oversee prosecutions in the case under UN Security Council Resolution 1644 [text]. CNN has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

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