The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

Search This Blog

October 26, 2011

Alakhbar- PM Mikati Backs Financing STL, October 26 ,2011

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati says he supports funding the international tribunal implicating members of his governing coalition partner Hezbollah in the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri.
Visitors of Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati will get the impression that he prefers handling one matter or crisis at a time. This formula has proven effective for him time and time again. Positions taken by his government tend to refute criticisms levelled against them: he is not a lackey of Hezbollah and his government represents all Lebanese, not just the current parliamentary majority.
He says that no party can take the government in its own direction. In some cabinet meetings, he feels that there are contradictory positions and alignments, even among ministers of the same party. Ministers Charbel Nahhas and Gibran Bassil have openly clashed with Ministers Shakib Kortbawi and Fadi Abboud; while the recent settlement on the government’s electricity plan came as a result of an understanding in which the opposition took part.
The formula also applies to Mikati’s position on financing the international court. Here, his position was based on two premises: the first was that throughout the recent government formation, Mikati refused to give any party, including Hezbollah (although he did not name them), any leverage that would impede cooperation with the international court. He did not become prime minister as a result of any deal, unlike his predecessor Saad Hariri who benefited from a Saudi-Syrian settlement which had him giving up the tribunal in exchange for the government post. The second condition was that Lebanon pay its share of the court’s costs, because Mikati views payment as an integral element of Lebanese cooperation with the tribunal and Security Council.
Mikati built his position based on a number of beliefs. First, he as prime minister cannot be an obstacle to the court’s financing, nor can he cover up for anyone who impedes its work or cooperates with its activities. He said, “No one has the right to expect that kind of behavior from me.”
Meanwhile, the international court was a result of resolution 1757, which is based upon a broad international consensus. This means that the Lebanese prime minister is not only dealing with an international resolution, but also with the international community that empowered the Security Council to act. Mikati feels that different positions taken by Washington and Moscow have colored past resolutions, but in the case of the tribunal, both countries supported its establishment.
Mikati also thinks that Lebanese factions rejecting resolution 1757 are doing so opportunistically. Lebanon does not have the right to pick and choose between international resolutions, being eager to carry out resolution 1701 while ignoring 1757. Stability in the South is an international issue, but justice is also an international responsibility, and Lebanon is at its heart.
Finally, he says Lebanon is responsible for financing the court, as it is obliged to do so out of respect for international law. By financially supporting the tribunal, Lebanese politicians can open discussions over the tribunal protocols it signed on to and their compliance with the Lebanese constitution. Lebanon must first carry out its obligations before it can discuss the cooperation protocol with the Security Council.
Mikati does not accept doubts cast against the court voiced by some principal factions in the March 8 movement. But he does believe that legal remarks which are constructive and serious offer the opportunity for dialogue with the international community and will reassure everyone. Mikati says, “It is not for me to say that the cooperation protocol is legal or otherwise, constitutional or not. The court was set up as a result of a Security Council resolution and they decide what to do.”
Moreover, if Lebanon does not finance the court, both it and the resistance will be damaged. Mikati has said more than once that the Lebanese government’s decision to finance the court is correct and so is his position.
In case the government majority does vote to stop financing it, Mikati will reevaluate his stance. “I will not say now what my position on financing the court will be if the cabinet rejects it. There is plenty of time for everyone to review their positions on this matter. The vote on financing it now may be different from the vote in one or two months. Officially, Lebanon has committed itself to financing the court. The president has done so and I have said the same thing. I am making such an effort to support financing the court because it is for the benefit of Lebanon first and foremost,” he said.
Mikati views the vote as part of the cabinet’s constitutional authority. “I will not reduce or cancel any of the powers of the cabinet, but the cabinet should make its decision based on constitutional principles. My position on all of this is correct at this time. The time factor may be enough to get us to a suitable way out or to an agreement on protecting the interests of Lebanon.” Mikati added, “Whatever the cabinet decides, I am not one of those people who raises fears of international sanctions on Lebanon or, unlike some, pushes for them. At the same time, I cannot conceal my anxiety over the relationship between Lebanon and the international community if [Lebanon] stops financing the court.”
The prime minister has not thought of resigning yet. He will not hand this gift to his opponents or to opponents of his recent decision regarding the tribunal, if they are expecting it. He does not think they are expecting his resignation, but he refuses to cause a governmental crisis or political vacuum because of the differences between him and other parties in the government.

No comments:

Post a Comment