The UN International Independent Investigation Commission in Lebanon
Jens Meierhenrich (ed.), The Law and Practice of International Commissions of Inquiry (Oxford: Oxford University Press, Forthcoming)
Grotius Centre Working Paper 2017/069-ICL
26 Pages Posted: 5 Dec 2017
Date Written: November 28, 2017
In 2005, the UN Security Council condemned the assassination of the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri, and established the United Nations International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) to assist the Lebanese authorities in conducting their investigations. The UNIIIC's investigation transitioned to prosecutions at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. This Chapter sheds light on the UNIIIC’s institutional features and evaluates its performance in light of wider political dynamics. It utilises documentary sources, commentary and semi-structured interviews with former UNIIIC staff members to understand different perceptions of the UNIIIC's operations and investigative challenges felt on the ground. The Chapter argues that the UNIIIC adopted different personas in the course of executing its mandate, which reflected changes in wider institutional and political contexts as well as the outlooks of successive Commissioners. The UNIIIC can be seen as evolving from a truth-seeking inquiry to a criminal investigation and finally to a conduit for prosecutions. These different personas are appraised in light of the UNIIIC's technical mandate and the broader goal of maintaining international peace and security by ensuring accountability.
Keywords: fact-finding; international commission of inquiry; international peace and security; accountability; Lebanon
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