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French president calls for international tribunal for Hariri killers

[JURIST] French President Jacques Chirac has called for an international tribunal to try Syrian and Lebanese suspects in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive]. The UN International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) submitted its interim report [text; JURIST report] to the UN Security Council last week, which implicated both Syrian and Lebanese security officials in the February bomb attack which also killed 22 others. The report also named high level Syrian officials as suspects. Chirac said Thursday that he preferred an international tribunal because Lebanese courts could be prone to intimidation, but stressed that should domestic courts be used to try suspects that there be international support and guarantees of a fair trial. Hariri's son has also called for an international trial [JURIST report], but the US and other nations are reluctant to create another international tribunal fearing the cost and time involved. Meanwhile Friday, the US, France and Great Britain circulated a revised draft UN resolution [AFP report] threatening economic and political sanctions under Article 41 of the UN Charter [text] against Syria if it did not fully cooperate with the ongoing probe into Hariri's murder. The revised draft, however, tones down language on punitive measures and provides that any sanctions would be overseen by a special committee [Middle East Times report]. The draft resolution triggered immediate opposition by Algeria, China and Russia in the UN Security Council. China and Russia are both veto-holding members of the Council and would need to approve the resolution. Reuters has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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