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US donating $5 million to Hariri tribunal fund

[JURIST] The US will donate $5 million [remarks text] to the UN-backed tribunal established to investigate and try suspects in the 2005 murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive], US Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad announced Thursday. Khalilzad said the financial support

reflects our commitment to the process of accountability for political murder and assassination that has taken place in Lebanon. It is very important...that those who have been responsible for those crimes be brought to justice. That there is no impunity for political assassination, that political assassination is a threat to international peace and stability and every effort has to be made to bring those who are responsible for it to justice in order, not only to have accountability but also to deter future such crimes.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has said that he will appoint judges to the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon [UN materials] as soon as sufficient funding for the tribunal is in place, hopefully by the end of 2007. Ban estimates that the tribunal will cost $120 million over three years. Ban expects the UN to secure $35 million in funds for the first year of operation by the end of this year, along with an additional $85 million in pledges to cover the next two years.

The UN Security Council unilaterally established the tribunal [JURIST report; UN News report] in May after a divided Lebanese government failed to agree on a proposal. The tribunal will also investigate [JURIST report] and possibly try suspects in 17 other attempted and successful political assassinations in Lebanon. In August, the Netherlands agreed to host the tribunal [JURIST report]. BBC News has more.

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