International Law

UN Tribunal Controversial in Hariri Case

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A vote yesterday by the U.N. Security Council to establish a tribunal to try suspects in the assassination two years ago of Lebanon’s former prime minister has drawn cheers and jeers from the international community today.

The vote led to celebration in the streets of Lebanon by some supporters of Rafik Hariri and the rule of law, since political assassinations are relatively common and often have gone unpunished there, according to news reports. But it has also angered many in Lebanon and other Middle Eastern neighbors, who see the tribunal as an expression of United States-Israeli influence in the region.

“The danger is that the opponents of the tribunal in Lebanon will escalate the violence further to a dangerous level,” says Paul Salem of the Middle East center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in an interview with the BBC. “The opportunity is that, now that the tribunal has been decided, the players in the region – in Lebanon and around the world – will come to the table and try to find a way out of the set of conflicts that is besetting Lebanon, and of which the tribunal is only one part.”

Hariri and 22 others were killed in a massive car bomb blast on Feb. 14, 2005. Where the tribunal will be located has not yet been determined, but it will apply Lebanese law.

Voice of America (Syria, Hezbollah Condemn UN Vote to Establish Hariri Tribunal)

Winston-Salem Journal (Tribunal to prosecute killing of top official)

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