[JURIST] UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] Monday urged the government of Lebanon to ratify an agreement with the UN to create a UN-supported international tribunal [JURIST news archive] to try suspects accused of assassinating former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [official website] in February 2005. The agreement was signed by Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Saniora [BBC profile] last week and is now with the UN for official approval. Once the document is signed by the UN, Lebanon [JURIST news archive] will need to ratify the agreement according to procedures dictated by the Lebanese constitution [text].
Nabih Berri [official profile], the pro-Syrian speaker of the Lebanese Parliament [Wikipedia backgrounder] opposes the UN agreement, which may create a barrier to its ratification since pro-Syrian Hezbollah militants [BBC backgrounder] have been staging demonstrations to increase their power in the Lebanese government. Saniora, an anti-Syrian, has so far refused to step down, but if the pro-Syrian movement takes control of the cabinet it will have veto power over government decisions including the proposed tribunal. Last November, the Lebanese cabinet approved a draft plan [JURIST report] for the tribunal despite the former resignation of all six pro-Syrian members. AP has more.