Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has informed the Security Council of his plan to appoint a senior Canadian legal figure as the next head of the independent commission tasked with investigating the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri and many other killings in the Middle Eastern country.
Mr. Ban sent a letter to the Council detailing his intention to appoint Daniel Bellemare, who served until recently as Canada’s Deputy Attorney-General, as the Commissioner of the International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC), UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters today.
Mr. Bellemare will replace Serge Brammertz, who had previously informed Mr. Ban that he would not be available to head the IIIC when his current mandate expires at the end of this year. Mr. Brammertz, who is Belgian, has served as Commissioner since early 2006, when he succeeded Detlev Mehlis of Germany.
In April 2005 the Council set up the IIIC after an earlier UN mission found that Lebanon’s own inquiry into the Hariri assassination was seriously flawed and that Syria was primarily responsible for the political tensions that preceded the attack. Mr. Hariri died in a massive car bombing in Beirut in February 2005 that also took the lives of 22 others.
Mr. Brammertz told the Council last year that evidence obtained so far suggests that a young, male suicide bomber, probably non-Lebanese, detonated up to 1,800 kilograms of explosives inside a van to assassinate Mr. Hariri. The IIIC is also probing at least 17 other cases in Lebanon.
This year Mr. Ban began taking measures to formally establish a special tribunal of an “international character” to try the suspected killers of Mr. Hariri, and possibly those responsible for the subsequent assassinations in Lebanon as well.
Ms. Okabe said today that the Secretary-General is awaiting a response from the Security Council to his letter regarding Mr. Bellemare.