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Annan Appoints New Head for Hariri Probe Panel
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UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan intended to appoint Serge Brammertz of Belgium to head the UN International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced Wednesday.

In a letter sent to the President of the Security Council, Annan informed the Council of his intention to appoint Serge Brammertz, Deputy Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), to succeed Detlev Mehlis as Commissioner of the UNIIIC.

Brammertz will proceed to Beirut to take up his assignment, and is expected to formally take over from Mehlis around Monday.

Meanwhile, Chief Prosecutor of the ICC has decided to grant Brammertz a six month leave of absence from the ICC Office of the Prosecutor, as a contribution to the search for truth and accountability in a matter of grave concern to the international community.

The UN Security Council, on Dec. 15, 2005, adopted the resolution 1644 and decided to extend the Commission's mandate for an additional six months until June 15, 2006.

According to Dujarric, the secretary-general reiterated his unwavering commitment to support the work of the Commission to fulfill its mandate to assist the Lebanese authorities to bring to justice the perpetrators of this crime.

"In particular, the secretary-general has taken steps to fulfill the mandate of Security Council resolution 1644 to help the Lebanese government identify the nature and scope of the international assistance needed for those charged with the crime to be tried by a tribunal of an international character," the spokesman added.

He also noted that Annan will consult with Brammertz and the Lebanese authorities regarding the most effective manner of expanding the work of the Commission to assist the Lebanese authorities to investigate other terrorist attacks since Oct. 1, 2004.

(Xinhua News Agency January 12, 2006)

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