The United Nations and the Netherlands today signed an agreement to base in The Hague the court to judge recent assassinations in Lebanon, including that of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri.
The Headquarters Agreement for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was signed in New York by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Larry D. Johnson and Dutch Ambassador Frank Majoor.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has already accepted the recommendations of the selection panel on judges for the Tribunal and will announce the names “at an appropriate time in the future,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.
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).
In April 2005 the Security Council set up the International Independent Investigation Commission (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.
Earlier this month outgoing IIIC head Serge Brammertz told the Council he was “more confident and optimistic than ever” that the investigation can be concluded successfully.