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UN Legal Counsel Leaves Beirut

UN Legal Counsel Leaves Beirut After ‘Very Constructive’ Meetings On Hariri Tribunal

New York, Sep 8 2006 4:00PM

The United Nations Legal Counsel left Beirut today after “very constructive” meetings with top Lebanese leaders over the setting up of an international tribunal to look into last year’s killing of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 22 others, a UN spokesman told reporters.

Nicolas Michel, who is also the Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, arrived in Lebanon on Wednesday ahead of discussions with Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and Justice Minister Charles Rizk.

“In those meetings, he discussed the draft statute and main issues around the establishment of a tribunal of an international character dealing with the murder of the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 22 others,” said spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

“Before his departure, Mr. Michel told reporters that he had very constructive and fruitful meetings, and that much has been achieved so far. He made it clear that the tribunal would need to be agreed to by the United Nations and the Lebanese Government.”

Mr. Hariri and the others were killed on 14 February last year in a car bomb attack in Beirut.

The Security Council called for the setting up of a tribunal in resolution 1664, which it adopted in March, although the UN has been investigating the killings through the work of its International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC), led by Serge Brammertz.

In a detailed report to the Council in June on the IIIC’s work, Mr. Brammertz said the “fundamental building blocks for the investigation into the crime” were now largely understood “and provide the basis for investigative progress with regard to those who perpetrated the crime.”

The IIIC was set up in April 2005 after an earlier UN mission found Lebanon's own investigation seriously flawed and Syria primarily responsible for the political tension preceding Mr. Hariri's murder.

Ends

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