[JURIST] The Dutch government has invited UN representatives to discuss final arrangements for the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon [UN materials] it has agreed to host [JURIST report] to try suspects for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive], Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen [official website, in Dutch] said Monday in a letter to the Dutch parliament [official website, in Dutch]. The UN delegation will help determine the specific location and costs of the tribunal, and where suspects will be imprisoned if convicted. Last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said that he will appoint judges to the tribunal [JURIST report] as soon as sufficient funding for the tribunal is in place, supposedly by the end of 2007. Ban estimates that the tribunal will cost $120 million over three years, and expects the UN to secure $35 million in funds for the first year of operation by the end of this year, along with an additional $85 million in pledges to cover the next two years. Ban said that he has already taken preliminary steps on the selection of international and Lebanese judges, and that he hopes to announce the names of judges to sit on the tribunal by the end of the year.
The UN Security Council unilaterally established the tribunal [JURIST report; UN News report] in May after a divided Lebanese government failed to agree on a proposal. The tribunal will also investigate [JURIST report] and possibly try suspects in 17 other attempted and successful political assassinations in Lebanon. AP has more.