Hariri tribunal names New Zealander as new head
The court set up to try former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri's killers named a new president Monday to replace Antonio Cassese.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon said David Baragwanath of New Zealand would take over from the Italian Cassese, who decided Sunday to step down for medical reasons.
"Judge Cassese will continue to serve as a Judge of the Tribunals Appeals Chamber," a statement said.
Baragwanath, who joined the tribunal as a judge in March 2009, has worked as defence and prosecution counsel in his home country, and served on the appeals courts of New Zealand and Samoa.
"It is a privilege to succeed the highly respected jurist Antonio Cassese", the statement quoted Baragwanath as saying. "We are indeed fortunate that his wisdom and experience will continue to inform our work."
Cassese was quoted as saying: "For two and a half years I have endeavoured to steer the STL through difficult waters efficiently and fairly.
"I do not feel able to provide the leadership that the Tribunal requires and deserves."
The Netherlands-based tribunal, the only international court with jurisdiction to try acts of terror, was created by a 2007 UN Security Council resolution, at Lebanon's request, to try those responsible for Hariri's assassination in a suicide car bombing on February 14, 2005.
Twenty-two other people also died.
In August, the court published a full indictment and said it had enough evidence to put four members of Lebanon's influential Hezbollah movement on trial.
Court Registrar Herman von Hebel has said a trial could start around mid-2012, but no arrests have been made as the Iranian-backed Shiite Hezbollah has ruled out handing over the suspects and Lebanon says they cannot be found.
© 2011 AFP