April 10, 2007
On the Necessity of Mandating an international Tribunal
Under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter
To try the Terror assassinations in Lebanon
H.E. Ban Ki Moon
Secretary General of the United Nations
As we congratulate you for your election as Secretary General of the United Nations, especially at this critical conjuncture of international relations and the challenges of Terrorism, human rights and development, we hereby urge you to address the current crisis in Lebanon in the most pressing manner. We, the representatives of the World Council of the Cedars Revolution (WCCR), an INGO which has been working with the United Nations for years to reestablish the sovereignty and freedom of Lebanon and implement all relevant UN resolutions, are submitting the following urgent memorandum:
Since September 2004, the Security Council of the United Nations has engaged itself in responding to the rapidly developing crisis in Lebanon and has since issued a number of binding resolutions to address the threats to international peace and civilian population in that country. We, the World Council of the Cedars Revolution, representing NGOs inside Lebanon and throughout the Lebanese Diaspora in 23 countries around the world have been assisting the UN with advice and consulting periodically with your office and many missions at the Security Council on these issues since the UN initiatives have begun. Thus, and as we witness the deterioration of the situation in general and the growing challenges to the UN process of stabilizing Lebanon, we first draw your attention to the threats aiming at blocking the judicial procedures, with its consequences then urge you to take the appropriate actions:
1. Blocking UN judicial process
In September 2004, the Security Council adopted UNSCR 1559 asking the Syrian occupation forces, other military forces including the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Terrorist networks training in Lebanon, to pull out from the Lebanese territories. The Resolution asked for the disarming of all remaining militias, which includes Hezbollah's armed forces and other militias present on Lebanese soil. Such a historic resolution, voted by a strong majority in the council and reinforced by a Security Council Presidential letter signed unanimously during the same month, has put the two demands under international law and UN responsibility: Withdrawal of foreign forces and disarming the militias. Hence, all subsequent obstruction and violence in response to UNSCR 1559 falls under special responsibility of the UN and its main arm of defense: Chapter 7.
The forces targeted by the resolution for compliance, which included the Syrian Government, the Iranian Government, the pro-Syrian Government of Lebanon at the time, Hezbollah's militia and other armed groups, declared themselves openly opposed to UNSCR 1559 and stated that they will do all they can to stop the implementation of the resolution. Lebanese politicians who opposed the occupation were targeted with Terrorist action. Hence, Minister Marwan Hamade was the victim of a car bomb in the fall of 2004. On February 14, 2005, former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and many of his companions were killed by a Terrorist attack in downtown Beirut. On February 15, 2005, the United Nations Security Council issued a statement calling on the Lebanese government to "bring to justice those who perpetrated, organized and sponsored this heinous terrorist act ." On April 7, 2007 UNSCR 1595 established an International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) into the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri calling it a "terrorist act". From that moment the UN became responsible for bringing the Terrorists to justice.
The Terrorist forces, regimes and organizations responded to the UN between July and December 2005 by murdering more Lebanese citizens and politicians, including George Hawi, Samir Qassir and Jebran Tueni. UNSCR 1636, voted on October 31, 2005, and UNSCR 1644 adopted on December 15, 2005 moved the investigation under Chapter Seven. But the Terror war against Lebanon's civil society didn't stop despite the UN measures. Assassinations, including of Minister Pierre Gemayel during the fall of 2006, intimidations and obstruction of the judicial process are still aimed at crumbling the international Tribunal. Two years of sabotaging of the international justice process has submitted Lebanon to escalating violence and security set backs.
In the last few weeks, a dangerous development threatens to block the establishment of the court, developing grave risks for current and future Terrorism against Lebanon's civil society and UN legitimacy in international relations. As detailed in the attached memo, signed by the majority of the democratically elected Lebanese Parliament, and addressed to the UN Secretary General, two main allies of the Syrian occupation, the isolated President of the Republic Emile Lahoud and the minority-speaker of the Parliament, Amal Leader Nabih Berri are now trying to block the process of establishing the tribunal. While the majority-backed Lebanese Government of Prime Minister Seniora is moving forward with the UN sponsored process, and the majority in Parliament endorses it, the pro-Syrian political minority in the country, is obstructing it. It is to note that the pro-Syrian politicians are backed by armed militias, still rejecting UNSCR 1559.
2. Dangers to international Peace
M. Secretary General, if the international tribunal is not formed immediately and if legal action continues to be obstructed this will have incalculable consequences on regional and international peace and security. For if the UN cannot protect a civil society from Terrorism targeting its legitimate leaders, the Terrorist attacks will continue against other leaders, Government officials and legislators. Not stopping the murders via the Tribunal will lead to collective murders and mass killings, under UN watch. More clearly, if the international court is obstructed in the assassination of Hariri, Tueni, Gemayel and the other victims, future assassinations taking place across international borders will create mayhem in international relations. The tribunal is a response to Terror attacks condemned by the UNSCR. The UN responsibility is directly engaged in enforcing Peace and security in Lebanon. Failing to quickly move forward with the tribunal will crumble both the credibility of the UN and its legitimacy at a critical time in world politics, and will open the door to many similar Terror attacks against regional and world leaders. The precedent cannot be allowed.
3. The appropriate actions:
Hence, the WCCR and its branches in many countries around the world, in consultation with many Lebanese NGOs call on you to implement the following immediate steps:
a) Acknowledge reception of the Memo sent to your office by the members of Lebanon's Parliamentary majority and invite their leaders for a consultation session at the Security Council.
b) Call for an emergency meeting of the Security Council and issue a resolution to rapidly establish the International Tribunal under Chapter Seven, in view of the imminent threats against Lebanon civil society and its democratically elected institutions.
c) Establish a special protection and execution force for the Tribunal under direct control of the UNIFIL.
d) Meanwhile, extend a permanent UN security protection to the members of the Lebanese Parliament who have signed the Memo addressed to the UN. This protection must be extended till the Terror crimes are solved and the perpetrators brought to justice.
The World Council for the Cedars Revolution and the International Lebanese Committee for the Implementation of UNSCR 1559 remain at the disposal of your office and the Security Council for any assistance and advice,
Memo prepared on behalf of the WCCR by Professor Walid Phares, General Counsel to the WCCR and ILC 1559 and Senior Fellow, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Washington, DC
Joe Baini/President: WCCR. Sydney, Australia/Former President, World Lebanese Cultural Union
Tom Harb/Secretary General. WCCR and ILC 1559, Orlando, USA
Attorney John Hajjar/Director: WCCR. North America, Boston, USA
Sami Khoury, Member: WCCR. /Former President: World Lebanese Cultural Union, Ecuador.
Toni Nissi/General Coordinator, ILC for UNSC 1559 in Lebanon: Beirut
Dr Rachid Rahme/Secretary General WCCR for Lebanon: Beirut
Attorney Claudia Chater/Director, ILC 1559 for Brazil: Brazilia
Attorney Joanne Fakhre/Member WCCR, USA
George Chaya/Director and Media Director WCCR and ILC 1559 Hispanic America: Buenos Aires , Argentina
Pierre Saouk/Coordinator WCCR, Sweden: Stockholm
Rony Doumit/Secretary General WCCR and Coordinator ILC 1559 for Europe: Stockholm
Lahez Haddad/Coordinator for WCCR and ILC 1559 for New Zealand: Auckland
Dr Anis Karam/Member of the WCCR/President, World Lebanese Cultural Union: Seattle. USA
Fadi Bark/Secretary General WCCR for USA/Secretary General for WLCU: Boston, USA
Col. Charbel Barakat/Coordinator of the WCCR in Canada: Toronto
Sami Fares/Member WCCR, Lebanon/President Machrek Committee, Beirut, Lebanon
Kamal El Batal/WCCR Human Rights Director, Beirut
Eblan Farris/Director, International Communications, WCCR: USA/CC: Members of the Security Council