'International tribunal needed for Hariri probe'

The chief investigator probing the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri backed the creation of an international tribunal to prosecute the alleged perpetrators, saying without a court it is difficult to justify the investigation. Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz told reporters Wednesday after briefing the Security Council on his latest report that a tribunal would be "the next logical step" because the Independent International Investigation Commission he heads is a fact-finding body - not a judicial institution that can issue indictments and conduct prosecutions. Without a tribunal, he said, "it would be complicated or difficult to justify the existence of the commission." The establishment of a tribunal is being held up because the speaker of Lebanon's parliament, Nabih Berri, refuses to convene a session on the current crisis between the pro-government, anti-Syrian camp which wants a tribunal and the pro-Syrian, Hizbullah-led opposition which has demanded modifications to the proposal for the court.