July 25, 2021

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon caught up with the country’s financial crisis

He is short of money: the United Nations Special Tribunal for Lebanon launched an appeal for help on Wednesday, June 2. “The Special Tribunal for Lebanon [TSL] regrets to announce that it is currently facing an unprecedented financial crisis ”, he wrote in a press release. “Due to the lack of immediate funding, the tribunal will not be able to continue its activities beyond the month of July 2021, which will have an impact on its ability to carry out its mandate.”, warns the court responsible for trying those accused of the attack that claimed the lives of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and twenty-one other people in 2005.

The STL, which sits on the outskirts of The Hague, Netherlands, was established after the adoption of United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1757 (May 30, 2007). His term was extended for two years by Secretary General Antonio Guterres in February.

On August 18, 2020, the court sentenced suspected Hezbollah member Salim Ayyash to life in absentia, including for “Intentional homicide”. The other three defendants in the case were acquitted. This first judgment is currently under appeal.

Rafic Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon between 1992 and 1998 and from 2000 until his resignation in October 2004, was killed on February 14, 2005, when a suicide bomber blew up a van full of explosives as his armored convoy passed. in Beirut, killing twenty-one other people and injuring two hundred and twenty-six.

Upcoming trial

In a separate case, the STL is due to open another trial in June against Salim Ayyash for three attacks targeting the former leader of the Lebanese Communist Party, Georges Haoui, assassinated on June 21, 2005, the ex-minister Marwan Hamadé, injured on the 1is October 2004, and the former Minister of Defense Elias Murr, injured on July 12, 2005.

“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 ”STL clerk David Tolbert said in the statement.

Read also What is the Special Tribunal for Lebanon for?

The UN Secretary General has been informed by the tribunal of his financial situation. The STL depends on voluntary contributions from donor countries for 51% of its budget; Lebanon’s contribution amounts to 49%. The World Bank warned on Tuesday that Lebanon’s economic collapse risked being ranked among the world’s worst financial crises since the mid-19th century.e century.

“In view of the difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the worrying situation in Lebanon, the STL has already drastically reduced its budget, by around 37%, in 2021 compared to previous years”, announced the court, which said to itself “Deeply distressed by the impact of this situation on the victims”. “In March 2021, the UN granted a grant of $ 15.5 million, or 75% of the Lebanese contribution”, but other contributions, however announced, have “Still not received”, the court said. The STL has “Urgently” called on the international community not to stop supporting it.

Read also The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, a blessing or a curse?

The World with AFP