Lebanon - On second anniversary of journalist's murder, UN is urged to extend international tribunal's mandate


    MONTREAL, Dec. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - On the second anniversary of newspaper
editor Gebran Tueni's murder, Reporters Without Borders today said the special
international tribunal created by the United Nations to try those responsible
for former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri's assassination should also have
jurisdiction over the other car-bombings in Lebanon since October 2004.
    The press freedom organisation also wrote today to Daniel Bellemare, the
Canadian judge recently appointed by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon to take
over as head of the international commission investigating the Hariri
assassination and to be the tribunal's prosecutor.
    "The list of bombings in Lebanon keeps getting longer without those
responsible being brought to trial by any court, Lebanese or international,"
Reporters Without Borders said. "It seems that solving the Hariri
assassination is the only way to shed light on all the other cases. The new
international tribunal created by the UN should be assigned all these cases so
that justice is finally rendered. This is what the families of the victims are
demanding."
    The Tueni family lawyer, Ziad Baroud, told Reporters Without Borders he
had confidence in the Lebanese investigation into the Tueni murder, and
regarded it as "serious." He said there was "no doubt" in his mind about "the
connections between the bombing that killed Rafiq Hariri and the other
bombings." He added that the Lebanese and international probes needed to be
merged so that those responsible can be "tried before the most appropriate
court."
    In its letter to Judge Bellemare, who will take over as head of the
international commission on 1 January, Reporters Without Borders spoke of the
need to continue cooperating with the Lebanese authorities as regards the
investigations into the murders of Tueni and newspaper columnist Samir Kassir,
and the attempted murder of TV presenter May Chidiac.
    Tueni, Kassir and Chidiac were all the targets of unsolved bombings in
2005. Tueni, the publisher and editor of the Arabic-language daily An-Nahar
and parliamentary representative for Beirut, was killed by car-bomb on
12 December 2005. Kassir, a columnist with Tueni's newspaper, was killed by a
bomb planted in his car on 2 June 2005. Both well-known and respected
journalists, Tueni and Kassir knew their lives were in danger after Hariri's
assassination on 14 February 2005. Chidiac, the Lebanese Broadcasting
Corporation's star presenter, was badly injured when her car was blown up on
25 September 2005.



For further information: Emily Jacquard, secretary general, Reporters
Without Borders, (514) 521-4111, Cell: (514) 258-4208, Fax: (514) 521-7771,
rsfcanada@rsf.org