Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab. Photo credit: Dalati and Nohra

Outgoing Prime Minister Hassan Diab addressed a letter to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres thanking him for the additional efforts of the United Nations General Assembly, which had already allocated more than $ 15 million to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

As a reminder, despite this extraordinary contribution, the STL announced the suspension of its work due to the inability of the Lebanese state to cover its share following the economic crisis. Hassan Diab noted, however, that most of the voluntary contributions that the Court expected to finance its budget, and which were mentioned in your request for assistance, did not materialize and therefore the financial concerns remain the same.

As a result, the Court faces serious financial challenges that could hamper its ability to continue its work, as planned, for the current year 2021. Such a case has very serious consequences, and its repercussions will not be limited to Lebanon. and the victims of the barbaric and scandalous attack on former Prime Minister RaficHariri and their families, not to mention other cases falling within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, but also on the capacity of international judicial institutions to fully serve justice.

Hassan Diab

The Lebanese Prime Minister therefore calls on the Administrative Committee of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the group of interested countries which share the founding principles of the Tribunal in Lebanon to continue to provide him with the necessary support for the pursuit of its work.

He therefore asks to help Lebanon find funding for the international tribunal and thus respects resolution 1701 of the UN Security Council.

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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