Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today marked the 6th anniversary of the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri by stressing United Nations support for the court set up to uncover the truth despite the reported attempts by Hizbollah to close it down.
“The Secretary-General reaffirms the commitment of the United Nations to the efforts of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon to uncover the truth so as to bring those responsible to justice and send a message that impunity will not be tolerated,” a statement issued by his spokesman said.
Lebanon’s previous government, led by Mr. Hariri’s son, Saad, collapsed in January after 11 Hizbollah and allied ministers resigned, reportedly over the Government’s refusal to cease cooperation with the tribunal, which the media says was about to indict Hizbollah members for the murders.
At the end of last month, Mr. Ban called on the newly designated Government led by Najib Mikati to continue to cooperate with the Tribunal, set up following a probe by the International Independent Investigation Commission after an earlier UN mission found that Lebanon’s own inquiry into the massive car bombing that killed Mr. Hariri and 22 others was seriously flawed.
The Commission also found that Syria was primarily responsible for the political tensions that preceded the attack. The court received its first indictment in January, but the contents remain confidential at this stage.
Today’s statement said Mr. Ban “stands with the people of Lebanon in commemorating the life and achievements of Mr. Hariri and renews his condolences to the families of the victims of this crime.” He also called for the full implementation of all Security Council resolutions pertaining to Lebanon.
These include resolution 1701, which ended a month-long war between Israel and the Hizbollah militia in 2006. It calls for respect for the Blue Line separating Israel and Lebanon, the disarming of all militias in Lebanon, which would include Hizbollah, and an end to arms smuggling in the area. The UN has repeatedly condemned Israeli over-flights of Lebanese territory since then and, according to media reports, Hizbollah has received thousands of new missiles and other arms.