Thursday, December 15, 2011
The Prosecutor of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), created to try those alleged responsible for the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, has informed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that he will not seek a second term for health reasons, the tribunal reported today. “While this long and difficult journey is far from over, solid foundations have been laid to achieve justice and accountability for the attack of 14 February 2005 and connected cases, through the rule of law,” said Daniel Bellemare, the Prosecutor of the UN-backed tribunal, announcing his decision not to seek reappointment when his term expires at the end of February next year. “I am proud to leave behind a strong team of committed professionals who have assisted me in the past three years in carrying out our challenging mandate and will continue to ensure that justice is achieved for the people of Lebanon,” he added.
Mr. Ban told a news conference at UN Headquarters today that he will seek Mr. Bellemare’s replacement in consultation with the UN Legal Counsel, Patricia O’Brien. The tribunal is an independent court created at the request of the Lebanese Government, with a mandate issued by the Security Council. It is based in The Hague in the Netherlands. It was set up following a probe by the International Independent Investigation Commission after an earlier UN mission found that Lebanon’s own inquiry into the massive car bomb in Beirut that killed Mr. Hariri and 21 other people was seriously flawed, and that Syria was primarily responsible for the political tensions that preceded the attack.
The President of STL, David Baragwanath, said Mr. Bellemare had undertaken a difficult job with “vigour and determination.” The tribunal’s registrar, Herman von Hebel, praised Mr. Bellemare’s commitment to his duties, saying it had led to the submission and confirmation of an indictment earlier this year.
(Adapted from a UN Press Release(