The seat of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Photo source: TSL
The seat of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. Photo source: TSL

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon has confirmed its next closure from July due to late payment from the Lebanese authorities, facing a serious financial crisis.

As a reminder, it was opened to try people suspected of being involved in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and certain attacks committed between 2004 and 2007.

Created in 2007, initially for a 3-year term renewed since then, and operational since 2009, the tribunal is funded up to 49% of its expenses by Lebanon itself and 51% by the international community. In total, this institution would cost up to $ 55 million annually.

For the time being, this institution is somewhat controversial in Lebanon following the indictment of members of Hezbollah accused of being involved in the assassination of Rafic Hariri and the publication in 2020 of a verdict which found not guilty. 3 of the 4 accused by lack of proof.

The threats concerning its funding had already been heard by the very confession of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres who had estimated, as early as last February, that the Lebanese contribution would be uncertain. The UN official then estimated that the institution could interrupt its operation in the first half of 2021. Efforts to cut running costs by 40% have cut the tribunal’s running costs as the UN is claiming $ 25 million from its members to cover the remaining balance. Only $ 15.5 million has so far been found.

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