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US and allies circulate Security Council resolution for Hariri tribunal

[JURIST] The United States, France, and the United Kingdom circulated a draft UN Security Council resolution Thursday, which if approved will unilaterally establish a tribunal under Chapter VII of the UN Charter [texts] to investigate and try suspects in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive]. According to AP, the resolution would enforce an agreement [JURIST report] reached between UN negotiators and Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora [BBC profile] but which has failed to be approved by Lebanon's Parliament due to a deadlock. The proposed resolution was discussed at a closed-door meeting with representatives from the five permanent Security Council members, and the resolution's backers are optimistic that it will not face strong opposition because the resolution enforces an existing agreement and does not impose a new UN tribunal without Lebanese input.

On Monday, Siniora sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, formally requesting that the Security Council unilaterally create an ad hoc tribunal [JURIST report] to investigate the Hariri assassination. The Hariri tribunal has been a source of major disagreement in Lebanon's deeply sectarian political arena. The pro-Syrian Lebanese President Emile Lahoud [official profile] and Speaker of the National Assembly, Nabih Berri [official profile], oppose the Hariri tribunal, and Berri has refused to convene the National Assembly to prevent ratification of the agreement establishing the tribunal. Lahoud responded to Siniora's letter Tuesday, saying that a Security Council resolution "would imply a full bypass of the constitutional mechanisms in Lebanon" and would "hamper the court's judicial capacities to hold an impartial trial." AP has more.

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