UN Legal Counsel heads to Beirut to help Lebanese set up tribunal for Hariri killing

25 January 2006

The United Nations Legal Counsel will travel to Beirut this week to help the Lebanese authorities identify the nature and scope of the international assistance needed to create a tribunal to try those charged with the killing of former Prime Minister Hariri and others.

Nicolas Michel, the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, will meet with Lebanese officials as part of his visit, which follows up on Security Council resolution 1644, adopted last month.

By that text, the Council acknowledged “the Lebanese Government’s request that those eventually charged with involvement in this terrorist attack be tried by a tribunal of an international character” and asked the Secretary-General to provide assistance towards that end.

A spokesman for Mr. Annan today confirmed the planned visit by Mr. Michel, a 56-year-old native of Switzerland.

The Council’s December resolution also expanded the mandate of the UN International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) charged with looking into the assassination of Mr. Hariri, who was killed in a 14 February 2005 blast that also took the lives of 22 others. The Commission, now headed by Serge Brammertz, will support Lebanese probes into other terrorist attacks perpetrated in the country since 1 October 2004.