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International
Wednesday, 30-May-2007
Almotamar Net - The UN Security Council has approved the creation of an international court to try suspects in the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. BBC News - The UN Security Council has approved the creation of an international court to try suspects in the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
The resolution was adopted with 10 votes in favour, five abstentions and no veto by a permanent member - Russia, US, China, UK and France.
The court's creation is the subject of intense political debate in Lebanon.
Mr Hariri and 22 others were killed in a massive bomb blast in Beirut on 14 February 2005.
Lebanon now has until 10 June to ratify the proposal, otherwise the Security Council may consider independently authorising a tribunal as it did in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora backs the plans for an international tribunal, while the mainly pro-Syrian opposition has blocked attempts to establish it.
It was because of these divisions that the Lebanese government asked the Security Council to act.
The US, UK and France pushed for the Security Council to establish the court, arguing that political assassination could not go unpunished.
'Political killing'
Russia and South Africa had questioned why the Security Council was overriding Lebanon's sovereign parliament.
There was also an argument about why the court was being set up under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, meaning it could ultimately be enforced by military action.
Chapter VII was used to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
However, the US and its allies argued that only Chapter VII resolutions were legally enforceable.
Details of the tribunal, including where it will be based, are still to be decided and diplomats expect it will be a year before it starts work.
An interim UN investigation found Mr Hariri's killing was "probably" politically motivated and has implicated Syria, but Damascus has denied any involvement in his death.
Syrian President Bashar Assad has said any Syrian suspects would be tried in Syria and he would not release them to a tribunal.
In 2005, Syria withdrew its troops from Lebanon after a presence of 29 years, following massive domestic and international pressure after the assassination of Mr Hariri.
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