UN's Ban asks Netherlands to host Hariri tribunal

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent a letter to the Netherlands on Monday asking the country to host a tribunal to prosecute suspects in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, his office said. The UN Security Council voted to establish the international tribunal in May at the request of current Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora after the Syrian-backed opposition blocked Lebanese approval for the tribunal in parliament. UN officials have said the tribunal could take up to a year to establish, and with the investigation ongoing, it remains unclear who would face trial. The tribunal will feature a majority of international judges and an international prosecutor. In his letter to Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, Ban stressed the fact that the Netherlands already hosts a number of special courts and tribunals, including the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Court.