International court to try suspects in Hariri murder comes into force
An international court to try suspects in the murder of Lebanese ex-premier Rafiq Hariri has come into force, Justice Minister Charles Rizk said Sunday. The UN Security Council on May 30, approved a resolution setting Sunday as the date on which a 2006 agreement between the United Nations and the Beirut government to establish the court is to enter into force.
"UN Security Council Resolution 1757 concerning the establishment of an international tribunal to examine the assassination Rafiq Hariri came into force on Sunday," Rizk said in a statement.
Five members of the Security Council, including veto-wielding Russia and China, abstained from the May 30 vote, opposes to a decision that bypasses Lebanon's constitutional process.
Sunday's date for the entry into force of the court was set under a so-called "sunrise clause" to give the rival Lebanese sides a final chance to break their deadlock over the tribunal. But in the absence of a domestic accord, Belgium's UN Ambassador Johan Verbeke, who chairs the Security Council this month, said Friday: "The sunrise clause is being activated."
"This is an automatic clause so it will be entering into force automatically as of June 10," he said, according to AFP. Verbeke said the council did not plan any formal meeting on the case either Sunday or Monday.
The court will not be up and running for several months, diplomats and UN officials said.
Nine suspects, including former Lebanon's security chiefs, have however been under arrest for about two years over the murder and may stand trial before the international court.