UN chiefs gives strong backing to Hariri court

UNITED NATIONS- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday strongly reaffirmed UN backing for a special international tribunal investigating the assassination of the late Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.
"I urge all Lebanese not to interfere in its work -- I reaffirm our belief in the importance of the tribunal. It has a mandate, its own role. We will strive so that it can go on with its work," the UN chief said.

Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon
His comments came after Syrian judicial authorities issued arrest warrants for 33 Lebanese, Arab and foreign nationals in response to a suit by a former Lebanese general who alleged that they had given "false testimony" to tribunal investigators.
Among those targeted by the arrest warrants were individuals close to Saad Hariri, the current prime minister of Lebanon and Rafiq Hariri's son.
Tensions have also risen over the possibility that the special international court could indict members of the Lebanese Hezbollah, which some fear could rekindle civil strife between Shiites and Sunnis.
But in affirming UN support for the tribunal, Ban said, "Nobody can interfere or prejudge."
"Peace and stability should be one thing but the work of the tribunal must go on," he said.
The special investigation initially implicated high level Syrian and Lebanese security officials in the assassination, which Syria has denied.
Jamil Sayyed, who once headed the Lebanese security services, has charged that false testimony was used to fabricate evidence against him during the investigation into Hariri's assassination on March 14, 2005 in Beirut.
He was jailed in 2005 in connection with the murder and then released for lack of evidence with three other former generals in 2009.

Wednesday, October 6th 2010

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