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Tuesday, September 11, 2007 Netherlands invites UN to finalize hosting details for Hariri tribunal

The Dutch government has invited UN representatives to discuss final arrangements for the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon it has agreed to host to try suspects for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri , Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said Monday in a letter to the Dutch parliament . The UN delegation will help determine the specific location and costs of the tribunal, and where suspects will be imprisoned if convicted. Last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said that he will appoint judges to the tribunal as soon as sufficient funding for the tribunal is in place, supposedly by the end of 2007. Ban estimates that the tribunal will cost $120 million over three years, and 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 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.