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Lebanon PM asks UN to mandate Hariri tribunal

[JURIST] Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora [BBC profile] Wednesday sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asking the UN to establish a tribunal [JURIST news archive] to investigate the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri [JURIST news archive]. The anti-Syrian majority in the Lebanon parliament sent the UN a similar petition [JURIST report] last week over the objections of the country's pro-Syria opposition. Parliament speaker Nabih Berri [Wikipedia profile], a Syrian ally and opposition leader, has refused to allow a parliamentary vote on the tribunal until the idea is approved by President Emile Lahoud [official website], another pro-Syria politician. The President and the opposition say they agree to the tribunal in principle, but insist that some might use the investigation for what they term "political ends."

The UN tribunal proposal was approved [JURIST report] last November by a divided cabinet, but Lahoud has refused [JURIST report] to sign off on it. Ban said last week that it is too soon to establish a tribunal by UN Security Council mandate. Instead, he hopes to build a consensus within the Lebanese government. Reuters has more.

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