[JURIST] The UN Security Council [official website] Tuesday approved a proposal for an international tribunal to try suspects in the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive]. In a letter from the 15-person body to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Security Council accepted the terms of the tribunal [UN report] as agreed upon by Annan and the Lebanese government. The proposal now must be formally approved by the Lebanese parliament and ratified by Lebanon's president. The tribunal will proceed once enough funds are secured to cover its formation and one year of operation, with pledges to cover two further years of operation; 51 percent of the expenses will be covered by contributions from UN member states and the remainder will be paid by the Lebanese government. AFP has more.
The approval of the tribunal came in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday's assassination [BBC report] of anti-Syrian Lebanese Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel, which prompted US UN Ambassador John Bolton and others to urge quick agreement on the tribunal [JURIST report]. Annan submitted his proposal [JURIST report] for the Hariri tribunal to the UN Security Council [official website] last week despite Lebanese President Emile Lahoud's rejection of his cabinet's approval [JURIST reports] of the draft. Previous reports by the UN's Hariri investigatory commission [UN materials] implicated Syrian officials [JURIST report] in the assassination. Hariri and 22 others were killed in a massive explosion on the Beirut waterfront. The UN's authority to help Lebanon establish the tribunal stems from UN Security Council Resolution 1644 [text].