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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006, 18:35 GMT
UN appoints new Hariri probe head
Serge Brammertz
Before working at The Hague Mr Brammerts was a federal prosecutor
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has appointed a Belgian prosecutor as the new head of a UN probe into the killing of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri.

Serge Brammertz, the deputy prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, will replace German magistrate Detlev Mehlis.

Mr Mehlis stepped down last month when the investigation was extended beyond its original term of six months.

The inquiry has implicated Syrian and Lebanese officials in the killing.

A UN resolution has threatened further action unless Syria co-operates fully with the inquiry.

Extended mandate

Mr Brammertz will lead the International Independent Investigation Commission until its new mandate expires on 15 June.

"He will proceed to Beirut to take up his assignment as soon as practicable," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Mr Dujarric said the UN would send a mission to Beirut to help the Lebanese government identify "the nature and scope of the international assistance for those charged with a crime to be tried by a tribunal of an international character".

He said the UN would also consult the government on expanding the investigation to include a series of assassinations of anti-Syrian Lebanese opposition figures since Mr Hariri's death.

Mr Annan has reiterated "his unwavering commitment to support the work of the commission to fulfil its mandate to assist the Lebanese authorities to bring to justice the perpetrators of this crime," Mr Dujarric said.

Before he worked at The Hague, Mr Brammertz, 43, was Belgium's first federal prosecutor. He has also assisted the Council of Europe in fighting organised crime.



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