Saturday, September 22, 2007

UN developments on International Tribunal as of September 19,2007

19 September 2007
Security Council

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


The following Security Council press statement on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was delivered today by Council President Jean-Maurice Ripert ( France):

The members of the Security Council received a briefing today from Under-Secretary-General Nicolas Michel on the Secretary-General's report on the implementation of resolution 1757 (2007) regarding the establishment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

The members of the Security Council welcomed the report and commended the Secretary-General for his efforts.

They encouraged him to continue to undertake, in coordination, when appropriate, with the Government of Lebanon, the steps and measures necessary to establish the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

They welcomed the Secretary-General's intention to invite Member States to contribute to financing, in accordance with the provisions of resolution 1757 (2007), the establishment and activities of the Special Tribunal.

The members of the Security Council welcomed the favourable disposition expressed by the Netherlands to host the Special Tribunal.

19 September 2007
Press Conference

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

The United Nations was making good progress towards creating a selection panel to help the Secretary-General appoint a Special Tribunal on Lebanon to prosecute those responsible for murdering former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 other people, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Nicolas Michel said at a Headquarters news conference this afternoon.

Mr. Michel said the selection panel -– to comprise two judges, either sitting or retired from an international tribunal, and a representative of the Secretary-General -- would be set up in the "not-too-remote" future, and dismissed criticism that the United Nations was dragging its feet in establishing the Special Tribunal to try the February 2005 killings.  On the contrary, Security Council members had said during a meeting earlier in the day that they were pleased with the Organization's rapid pace.  "The matter of concern is to have an efficient investigation in place," he added.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a 4 September report to the Security Council that he hoped to appoint judges for the Special Tribunal -- based on the panel's recommendations -– by year's end, and would work closely with the Lebanese Government to appoint a prosecutor and deputy prosecutor.  The Government had already sent the Secretary-General a list of 12 judges proposed by the Supreme Council of the Judiciary and a list of candidates for the deputy prosecutor post.  Today, Mr. Michel said other Member States had until 24 September to submit candidates and no names would be disclosed until the start of the selection process.

According to the Tribunal's Statute, which took effect 10 June, the chambers will comprise an international pre-trial judge with authority to issue arrest warrants; one Lebanese and two international trial judges; two Lebanese and three international appeals judges; and one Lebanese and one international alternate judge.  The judges of the trial and appeals chambers would then each select a judge to preside over proceedings in their respective chambers.  The appeal chamber judge would also be the Tribunal's president.

During today's press conference, reporters peppered Mr. Michel with questions about the transfer of power from the United Nations Independent International Investigation Commission to the new Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and the new body's jurisdiction over political murders occurring in the country since October 2004 in connection with the former Lebanese Prime Minister's assassination.

Responding to queries about the Tribunal's future seat, the Legal Counsel said the Dutch Government had presented three possible courts to house it, but no decision had been made.  The United Nations had created a trust fund to finance the Tribunal's costs -– estimated at $35 million during the first year of operation, $45 million in the second and $40 million in the third.  Voluntary contributions by Member States would finance 51 per cent of the costs and the Lebanese Government would fund the rest.

Also during the briefing, Michèle Montas, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, read out a statement (see Press Release SG/SM/11167) in which Secretary-General Ban condemned today's terrorist attack that killed a Lebanese parliamentarian and six civilians in eastern Beirut.

Secretary-General moves to set up judges' selection panel for Lebanon tribunal

12 September 2007 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he has begun the process of establishing a selection panel to recommend to him the names of judges to serve on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which is being set up to prosecute those responsible for the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.
In his latest report on the progress of the Tribunal, Mr. Ban says the selection panel will be formed and take up its work by next month, and he expects to be able to appoint the judges – after receiving the panel's recommendations – by the end of the year.
The selection panel will comprise two judges, either sitting or retired from an international tribunal, and a representative of the Secretary-General.
The Lebanese Government has already forwarded a list of the 12 judges proposed by the country's Supreme Council of the Judiciary, and Mr. Ban says the list will remain sealed until the selection process of all judges starts.
UN Legal Counsel Nicolas Michel sent a letter to all Member States last month asking them to submit candidates for Tribunal judges by no later than 24 September.
According to the Tribunal's statute, the chambers will consist of one international pre-trial judge; three judges to serve in the trial chamber (one Lebanese and two international); five judges to serve in the appeals chamber (two Lebanese and three international); and two alternate judges (one Lebanese and one international).
The judges of the trial chamber and those of the appeals chamber will then each elect a presiding judge to conduct the proceedings in their chamber, with the presiding judge of the appeals chamber serving as president of the Tribunal.
Mr. Ban notes in the report that 51 per cent of the costs of the Tribunal will be met by voluntary contributions from UN Member States, with the remaining 49 per cent to be funded by the Lebanese Government. The UN Secretariat has created a trust fund to receive contributions from the world's countries.
The Tribunal is forecast to cost $35 million to run in its first 12 months, followed by $45 million in its second year and $40 million in its third year. Between 415 and 430 posts are expected to be needed to staff the court.
Mr. Michel led a delegation to the Netherlands last month to visit possible sites for the Tribunal and to hold talks with Dutch authorities on the measures necessary to establish the court's seat, according to the report.
The Tribunal is being set up to deal with the assassination of Mr. Hariri, who was killed along with 22 others in a massive car bombing in downtown Beirut in February 2005.
Once it is formally established, it will be up to the court to determine whether other political killings in Lebanon since October 2004 were connected to Mr. Hariri's assassination and could therefore be dealt with by the Tribunal.