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UN Hariri tribunal could start prosecutions March 1

[JURIST] The UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon [official website] could begin prosecuting suspects in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive] on March 1, 2009 with its prosecutor's scheduled arrival at The Hague, according to a report from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the Security Council [official websites]. The Special Tribunal will consist of 11 international and Lebanese judges, be based at The Hague and have a budget of $51 million for its first year [JURIST reports]. The report was made Wednesday. Reuters has more. From Beirut, the Daily Star has local coverage.

While no indictments have been issued, Daniel Bellemare [Ya Libnan profile], the Canadian prosecutor who heads the International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) [authorizing resolution; UN materials], believes a criminal network was behind the plot [JURIST report]. The investigation has increased tensions between Lebanon and Syria as several IIIC reports have implicated Syrian officials in Hariri's death [JURIST report].

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