EXCLUSIVE: Lebanese President Lahoud on the Hariri tribunal
EXCLUSIVE: Lebanese President Lahoud on the Hariri tribunal

Emile Lahoud [President of Lebanon]: "… I was among the first callers for an international investigation commission to conduct an enquiry into the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri. Shortly after the heinous crime, I called up UN Secretary General Kufi Annan demanding him to send an international investigation team to Lebanon.

Everybody in Lebanon wants to know the truth, and I have always supported the establishment of a tribunal with an international status to try the assassin and bring them to justice.

However, I have considered the cabinet of Siniora's vote on the second draft for establishing the tribunal as both "Unconstitutional and illegitimate", simply because the cabinet lost its legitimacy after a main sect "the Shiites" withdrew its ministers. The Lebanese constitution stipulates clearly that Lebanon is based on consensus and on coexistence, and therefore the cabinet of Siniora breached the national pact and therefore in our view it is "inexistent".

Moreover, the cabinet has no right according to the constitution to ratify any international treaty. Article 52 of the Lebanese constitution, states clearly that the president has the sole power, to discuss, and ratify any international treaty, after coordinating with the Prime Minister. Only then would the cabinet be allowed to see the draft of the treaty.

My legal remarks to the United Nations on the draft of the tribunal aimed at securing that the tribunal issue would neither be politicized nor would it violate Lebanon's sovereignty."

Opinions expressed in JURIST Commentary are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of JURIST's editors, staff, donors or the University of Pittsburgh.