BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora wrote to the U.N. secretary-general on Monday asking the world body to set up an international tribunal for suspects in the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.
Siniora’s letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that efforts in Lebanon to approve plans for the tribunal, which is at the heart of a deep political crisis, had reached a dead end, Information Minister Ghazi Aridi said.
Lebanon’s parliament has not approved the tribunal plans because its speaker, who disputes the legitimacy of Siniora’s government, has refused to convene the chamber.
“The Lebanese government considers that the time has come for the Security Council to help make the special tribunal for Lebanon a reality,” Aridi said, reading the text of the letter.
U.N. officials have been urging rival Lebanese leaders to approve the tribunal plans. But the leaders, who are also locked in a power struggle for control of government, have barely spoken since talks in March failed to end their standoff.
Lebanese leaders who support Siniora’s government accuse their opponents, including Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, of acting on Syrian orders to derail the court.
The governing coalition accuses Damascus of the 2005 Hariri killing, which was followed by attacks on other anti-Syrian figures. Syria denies involvement.
The opposition, which also includes pro-Syria Hezbollah, have stated they accept the idea of the tribunal but say they fear it will be used for political score settling and want to discuss its mandate.
Some Lebanese politicians and analysts have warned that any step by the United Nations to establish the court unilaterally under Chapter 7 of its charter could trigger instability in Lebanon.
Chapter 7 resolutions are enforceable under international law. The United States, which backs the Siniora government, said last week it would push for the establishment of the tribunal under Chapter 7 if necessary.