Lebanon: Ban Ki-moon asks Netherlands to consider hosting Hariri tribunal

23 July 2007 –

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today sent a letter to the Prime Minister of the Netherlands inviting the country’s Government to consider hosting the Special Tribunal on the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

In a statement released by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban voiced hope that the Dutch Government “will give serious consideration to the request.”

The Secretary-General’s letter stressed the fact that the Netherlands already hosts several courts and tribunals, such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

That experience, Mr. Ban said, “could be of great value for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.”

Mr. Hariri died in a massive car bombing in Beirut in February 2005 that took the lives of 22 other people. The UN International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) is currently probing that attack as well as 17 other cases.

On 30 May, the Security Council adopted a resolution calling for the Special Tribunal’s establishment. In its latest report, the Commission said it “looks forward to cooperating closely with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon during a transition phase in which the Commission’s work will be transferred to the Office of the Prosecutor of the Tribunal.”

Last week, UNIIC Commissioner Serge Brammertz warned the Security Council that the security of witnesses and people who cooperate with the Commission needs to be guaranteed. “This remains a priority for the Commission and will also have to be addressed by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in a timely manner,” he said.

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