UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Wednesday said that he will appoint judges to the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon as soon as sufficient funding for the tribunal is in place by the end of 2007. The secretary-general estimates that the tribunal, established to investigate the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri , will cost $120 million over three years. Ban expects the UN to secure $35 million in funds for the first year of operation by the end of this year, along with an additional $85 million in pledges to cover the next two years. Ban said that he has already taken preliminary steps on the selection of international and Lebanese judges, and that he hopes to announce the names of judges to sit on the tribunal by the end of the year.
The UN Security Council unilaterally established the tribunal UN News report in May after a divided Lebanese government failed to agree on a proposal. The tribunal will also investigate and possibly try suspects in 17 other attempted and successful political assassinations in Lebanon. In August, the Netherlands agreed to host the tribunal Tribunal.