UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said that the International Tribunal on the case of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri's assassins will start work on March 1, 2009, a step welcomed by the Lebanese ruling coalition, local An-Naher daily reported Thursday.
Hariri was assassinated in a deadly car bomb in Beirut on Feb. 14, 2005.
In the third UN report on the case, the UN chief said that "practical arrangements for the prosecutor to arrive in the Hague on March 1 will soon be finalize."
The tribunal was authorized by UN Security Council resolution 1757, and will have 11 judges including four Lebanese, and will be based in Hague.
Canadian Daniel Bellemare, who is heading the UN investigating commission on the case, will become the tribunal's prosecutor once the probe is completed.
Mandate of the investigating commission expires in December 2008, but the UN chief said it will be extended for two months.
The UN chief report said that the court's budget for the first year was 51.1 million dollars, and there is enough money to start.
Establishing the International Tribunal was the concern of the Lebanese ruling coalition, while it was not welcomed by the Lebanese opposition who believe that it was aimed to put pressure on Syria, who is blamed for the assassination, Syria ruled out any involvement in the case.