Few doubt that Syria was up to its neck in the killing of Lebanese politician and ex-premier Rafiq Hariri. Now AFP reports (here) that justice for his killers has moved a step nearer with a request to the Dutch Government to open a special tribunal for Lebanon in The Hague. This is an excellent move as previous suggestions about where such a Tribunal might sit (Lebanon or Cyprus had been floated) had stalled the process. This suggests that the UN is serious about this Tribunal and that it will acquire the sort of powers to require co-operation that the ICTY has, without which this Tribunal will be a dead duck.

Curbing Syria’s sense of impunity in relation to affairs in The Lebanon which it treats as its being wholly its fiefdom will be an important step not just in the process of ensuring Lebanese independence but also the Middle East peace process as a whole.