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Ban Ki-moon unveils judicial selection panel for Hariri tribunal in Lebanon

Ban Ki-moon unveils judicial selection panel for Hariri tribunal in Lebanon

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the composition of a selection panel to recommend to him the names of judges and chief prosecutor to work on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which is being set up to prosecute the suspected killers of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005.

Mr. Ban sent a letter to the Security Council President informing him of his intention to appoint Judge Mohamed Amin El Mahdi, Judge Erik Møse and Nicolas Michel to the selection panel, according to a statement released by the Secretary-General’s spokesperson.

Judge El Mahdi formerly served on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Judge Møse currently serves as a presiding judge with the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). Mr. Michel is the UN Legal Counsel and Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs.

Today’s statement stressed that Mr. Ban remained committed to setting up the Tribunal in a timely manner and that he continues to believe the court “will contribute to ending impunity in Lebanon for the crimes under its jurisdiction.”

The Tribunal is being set up to deal with the assassination of Mr. Hariri, who was killed along with 22 others in a massive car bombing in downtown Beirut in February 2005.

Once it is formally established, it will be up to the court to determine whether other political killings in Lebanon since October 2004 were connected to the assassination of Mr. Hariri and could therefore be dealt with by the Tribunal.

The selection panel is tasked with recommending to Mr. Ban the names of the four Lebanese judges and seven international judges who should serve on the court, as well as its chief prosecutor.

According to the Tribunal’s statute, the chambers will consist of one international pre-trial judge; three judges to serve in the trial chamber (one Lebanese and two international); five judges to serve in the appeals chamber (two Lebanese and three international); and two alternate judges (one Lebanese and one international).

The judges of the trial chamber and those of the appeals chamber will then each elect a presiding judge to conduct the proceedings in their chamber, with the presiding judge of the appeals chamber serving as president of the Tribunal.