Lebanon PM asks UN Security Council to unilaterally create Hariri tribunal

Lebanon PM asks UN Security Council to unilaterally create Hariri tribunal

[JURIST] Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora [BBC profile] sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon Monday, formally requesting that the UN Security Council establish an ad hoc tribunal [JURIST news archive] to investigate and try suspects in the February 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri [JURIST news archive] because "all possible means" to ratify a UN tribunal proposal [JURIST report] in the Lebanese parliament have failed. The controversial proposal, supported by Siniora but opposed [JURIST comment] by pro-Syrian Lebanese President Emile Lahoud [official profile], has been a source of major disagreement in Lebanon's deeply sectarian political arena. The pro-Syrian speaker of the National Assembly, Nabih Berri [official profile], opposes the Hariri tribunal and has refused to convene the National Assembly to prevent ratification. Lahoud responded to Siniora's letter Tuesday by saying his appeal to the Security Council was "would imply a full bypass of the constitutional mechanisms in Lebanon" and would "hamper the court's judicial capacities to hold an impartial trial." The Financial Times has more. Reuters has additional coverage. From Beirut, the Daily Star has local coverage.

Last Thursday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Syria will not cooperate with the Hariri tribunal [JURIST report] if the tribunal acts to undermine the country's sovereignty by indicting Syrians.