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Undermined by “unprecedented financial crisis”, Special Tribunal for Lebanon risks closing

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The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, set up after a UN Security Council resolution and tasked with trying those responsible for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and 21 others in Beirut in 2005, is threatened with extinction due to lack of funding.

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), charged with trying those responsible for the attack which claimed the lives of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and 21 others in Beirut in 2005, is threatened with disappearance for lack of funding, he announced Wednesday.

“The Special Tribunal for Lebanon regrets to announce that it is currently facing an unprecedented financial crisis,” the STL said in a statement, as Lebanon goes through one of the world’s worst financial crises , according to the World Bank.

“Without immediate funding, the Tribunal will not be able to continue its activities beyond July 2021, which will have an impact on its ability to carry out its mandate,” he warned.

Set up after a UN Security Council resolution, the tribunal, which sits in the Netherlands, sentenced to life on August 18, 2020 in absentia a suspected pro-Iranian Hezbollah member, Salim Ayyash, in particular for “intentional homicide”. The other three defendants in the case were acquitted. This first judgment is currently under appeal.

Rafik Hariri, who was the Lebanese Prime Minister until his resignation in October 2004, was killed in February 2005, when a van full of explosives exploded as his armored convoy passed Beirut, killing 21 other people and causing 226 injured.

In a separate case, the STL is due to open another trial against Salim Ayyash later in June for three attacks against Lebanese politicians.

“Despite a significant reduction in staff and costs for all of its operations, due to lack of additional funding, the Tribunal will be forced to close its doors in the coming months, which means that important cases will not be completed, at the time. detriment of victims, the fight against impunity and the rule of law, “said STL clerk David Tolbert, quoted in the statement.

The STL said it informed UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres of its financial situation, which is heavily dependent on voluntary contributions from donor countries.

With AFP


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