4.14.2007

Memo for International Tribunal for Lebanon

Prime Minister Fouad Saniora has handed over to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a memorandum urging the world body to take measures to create the international tribunal to try suspects in the 2005 assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri and related crimes.

Justice Minister Charles Rizk said Saniora's memo, which was presented to U.N. special coordinator in Lebanon Geir Pederson late Tuesday, was accompanied by a letter updating Ban on the latest developments over the tribunal issue in Lebanon.

Lebanese media said the memo contained the text of a second petition signed by 70 lawmakers asking the U.N. to help set up the court.

Previously, the parliamentary majority handed a petition to the United Nations requesting that the world body establish an international tribunal on the assassination of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri.

Addressed to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, it requested that "all alternative measures" be taken by the Security Council to establish the tribunal.

It reads:

Memorandum for H.E. Ban Ki Moon
Secretary General of the United Nations

We would like to thank you for the efforts that you are exerting as the Head of the United Nations to help Lebanon regain its sovereignty and independence, and attain international justice. We, the members of the Lebanese Parliament who represent the absolute majority in the Parliament and were elected by the Lebanese people in democratic elections that took place under the supervision of international observers, would like to submit the following memorandum:

Since, on February 14, 2005, Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri along with MP Bassel Fuleihan and others fell victim to an assassination crime as a result of an explosion that led to the destruction of their whole convoy;

Since, on February 15, 2005, the Security Council issued a statement calling on the Lebanese government to bring to justice the perpetrators who committed, organized and sponsored this heinous terrorist act.

Since the Fact-Finding Mission which was dispatched to Lebanon to investigate the causes, circumstances and consequences of the crime recommended on March 24, 2005, establishing an international investigation commission to investigate and to grant it executive authorities;

Since the Security Council adopted resolution 1595 on April 7, 2005 which established an International Investigation Commission into the assassination of Martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri which was classified by the resolution as a "terrorist act". This Resolution granted the commission wide ranging authority to conduct investigations in the circumstances surrounding the crime and with all the individuals and officials that the committee deems they have any connection with its mission. The Security Council also adopted Resolutions 1636 dated 31 October 2005, and Resolution 1644 dated 15 December 2005 related to this crime under Chapter Seven;

Since the investigation commission is still pursuing its mission in addition to the added responsibility of assisting the Lebanese authorities in investigating the crimes that took place as of 1/10/2004, and after the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri. These crimes claimed the lives of political leaders, members of parliament, intellectuals and journalists;

Since the Lebanese Cabinet which convened and was headed by the President of the Republic asked the Ministry of Justice to carry out negotiations with the United Nations to establish a Special Tribunal for Lebanon to try those who are accused of committing these crimes;

Since the Lebanese judicial delegation, following extensive negotiations, had reached an agreement on a draft project of instruments (Statute and agreement) to establish a tribunal of an international character and its basic arrangements.

Since the Council of Ministers ratified the international draft convention regarding the establishment and statute of the tribunal;

Whereas the President of the Republic refused to send the draft convention to the Parliament for ratification, claiming that the government has lost its constitutionality and became nonexistent; the President announced that he considers himself not bound by any constitutional time limits, and refusing to accept any correspondence with the government, and considering any act coming from the government as unconstitutional and nonexistent;

Whereas this position of the president contradicts the constitutional rules which defines exclusively the cases in which the government can be considered resigned; The Constitution does not mention the case where ministers representing a sect resign, unless the government loses more than one third of its members as stated in its formation decree. This position, which falls outside the bounds of all constitutional rules, aims to impede the executive authorities in its entirety, and to paralyze the country, pushing it into a constitutional void, and placing Lebanon in a dangerous situation that threatens civil peace, in a way unprecedented in the history of democratic regimes;

Whereas the Lebanese Government notified the Presidency of the Republic of its decision to approve the international convention, which creates the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and its basic bylaws. And after the refusal of the Presidency of the Republic to receive the decree or the demand for reviewing it, according to Article 56 of the Constitution, and after the expiration of the 15 days time limit without promulgating the decree or returning it to the Council of Ministers as required; The Council of Ministers reconvened and insisted on its first decision that it is "legally operative and must be promulgated", according to Article 56 of the Constitution;

Whereas the Lebanese Government and the United Nations signed the international convention concerning the Special Tribunal for Lebanon;

Whereas the Government sent the decree to the Parliament, but the Presidency of the Parliament refused to receive it, claiming that it was not signed by the President of the Republic, which contradicts Article 56 of the Constitution which stipulates the possibility of promulgating a decree without the signature of the President, and considering it legally operative, after the expiration of the 15 days time limit from the date the decision or the draft decree was sent to the Presidency of the Republic, without signing or returning it;

Considering the refusal of the Parliament Speaker to convene the Parliament;

And in order to avoid the total paralysis of the country, especially the damage that will result from Lebanon's refusal to ratify the convention concerning the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

Therefore,

In view of the position of the President of the Republic, whose mandate was extended in contravention of UNSCR 1559, and he who continues in his attempt to obstruct the constitutional prerogatives of the legitimate government of Lebanon;

In view of the President of the Republic's refusal then to open the extraordinary session of the Parliament, according to the Constitution clauses, despite the demands of the absolute majority of the Parliament Members;

In view of the Speaker of the Parliament's refusal to accept the transmission of the draft law, which entitles the Lebanese Government to ratify the convention it signed with the UN, despite the start of the Parliament's normal session.

Whereas these positions constitute a deliberate obstruction of the functions of our Constitutional institutions, which aims to stop the establishment of the International Tribunal, as stated in UNSC Resolutions and the Lebanese Government decision, and signed by both parties, and obstructs the possibility of ratifying this convention according to the internal constitutional procedures in Lebanon;

Whereas these acts contradict the democratic rules and principles of justice as stated and guaranteed by the Lebanese Constitution and the United Nations convention are against the Human Rights Declaration;

In view of this situation, we call upon you to take all alternative measures, stated by the UN convention, which will guarantee the establishment of the International Tribunal that was adopted by the UN Security Council, in order to attain justice, enhance civil peace and protect international peace and justice.

(Naharnet-agencies)

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Related posts:

- Statute of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon

- Chances of a Special Tribunal for Lebanon


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