UN moves on Lebanon court process despite Russia

Updated on Jun 07, 2012 05:32 PM IST
Western powers put their plan for a court to prosecute the murder of a former Lebanese prime minister before the UN Security Council on Friday, but Russia raised objections to its compulsory nature.
HT Image
HT Image
Reuters | By, United Nations

Western powers put their plan for a court to prosecute the murder of a former Lebanese prime minister before the UN Security Council on Friday, but Russia raised objections to its compulsory nature.

Sponsors of the United States, Britain and France played down the Russian concerns and said they still expected their resolution setting up the special court, a highly divisive issue in Lebanon, to pass by next week.

But US, British and French envoys amended the resolution to allow until June 10 before it went into effect in a gesture toward what they said was the probably forlorn hope that the Lebanese would bury their differences over it.

The resolution responds to a Lebanese government request but the country's parliament has not approved the plan because its speaker, an opposition figure who disputes the legitimacy of the government, has refused to convene the chamber.

At the heart of the dispute are Lebanon's ties with its larger neighbor Syria. Pro-government Lebanese leaders accuse Syria of killing former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri and 22 other people with a bomb in 2005. Damascus denies involvement.

Despite warnings by Lebanon's pro-Syrian president, Emile Lahoud, and others that setting up the court could trigger a fresh wave of violence there, Western leaders say it is essential as a matter of principle to try Hariri's murderers.

And they shrugged off suggestions that bombings and fighting in Lebanon this week aim to derail the court.

"We should not be intimidated by what is happening today in Lebanon," said France's U.N. ambassador, Jean-Marc de la Sabliere.

After discussions among the Security Council's 15 members on Friday, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Moscow objected to the draft resolution's reference to Chapter 7 of the UN charter, which would make the court mandatory.

"We don't think it's necessary," he told reporters, saying another clause in the UN charter made all Security Council resolutions binding anyway.

"We are also proposing ... a grace period, that after the resolution is adopted, it will enter into force after a certain period of time, in the hope and expectation that before that period ends they will be able to ratify it in Lebanon."

THREAT TO PEACE

Western diplomats said inclusion of the Chapter 7 reference was non-negotiable. U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said past U.N. actions on Hariri's assassination had termed it "a threat to international peace and security," thus requiring Chapter 7 enforcement.

"We believe that we are heading towards a vote on that resolution early next week," Khalilzad said. But he indicated the sponsors would be open to a clause allowing for a delay of "a few days" in implementing it, once it is passed.

Drafters of the resolution also removed some provisions from the Chapter 7 requirement but left the main ones intact, such as establishing the court. But it is unclear whether Russia accepts the latest version.

With U.N. headquarters in New York closed on Monday for the U.S. Memorial Day holiday, the earliest that the resolution could be adopted is now probably Wednesday after further discussions on Tuesday, diplomats said.

Western diplomats have said throughout that they do not expect Russia to veto the resolution, but they speculated that it could abstain. The United States, Britain, France, Russia and China have veto powers on the council.

Diplomats say the resolution would establish the court but not spell out how it would operate. Key details, including where it would be based, remain to be decided

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • FILE PHOTO: Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan during an interview.

    Pak ‘descending into Banana Republic': Imran Khan after aide's arrest

    Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan further accused the ruling PML-N's Nawaz Sharif, her daughter Maryam, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and PPP leader Asif Zardari for targeting the state institutions 'in the worst way possible', and still getting away 'without even a hint of a reprimanPakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Shahbaz Gill, a close aide of Imran Khanan, was arrested last week in Islamabad for allegedly making controversial remarks against the Pakistan Army on a private TV channel, local media outlet GeoNews reported.

  • FILE - A sign for monkeypox vaccinations is shown at a vaccination site.

    Mutation behind monkeypox spread? WHO’s reply; Roman numerals in clades' names

    The world saw 7,500 new monkeypox cases last week, a 20 per cent surge compared to the previous week, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday, giving the latest updates on the virus that has triggered concern globally. With the latest spike, the global monkeypox tally has passed the 35,000-mark and 12 deaths have so far been reported; the virus has spread to 92 countries and territories.

  • Parwati Sunar, 27, sings the national anthem of Nepal while attending an assembly at Jeevan Jyoti secondary school in Punarbas, Kanchanpur district, southwest Nepal.

    Nepali woman's quest to learn takes her back to school with son

    A Nepali mother of two, Parwati Sunar finds herself attending the same school as her son after returning to an education system she fled at the age of 15, when she eloped with a man seven years her senior. "I think I should not have left my school," she said, explaining the desire to catch up on the lessons she missed, having had her first child at 16.

  • The man told police he lived in the home with his girlfriend.

    A man broke into a home in US. He wanted to have bath, say cops

    A Minnesota man who allegedly broke into an occupied Wisconsin home last week and locked the 29-year-old Minnesota man in a bathroom, St. Paul never had a chance to come clean. Authorities say the 29-year-old Minnesota man, St. Paul was filling up the tub when Chippewa Falls police who answered the call of a stranger in the home ordered him to come out of the bathroom. The man told police he lived in the home with his girlfriend.

  • A demonstrator holds up an abortion flag outside of the US Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington.

    Anger as US court says teen not 'mature' enough for abortion

    An appeals court in Florida has upheld a ruling that a 16-year-old girl is not "sufficiently mature" enough to get an abortion -- a decision that sparked the ire of some US lawmakers. Two months after the Supreme Court overturned nationwide access to the termination of a pregnancy, the teenager's case is fuelling new anger over women's rights in the United States.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, August 18, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now