MADRID, 3 (EUROPEAN PRESS)
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon, created with the main aim of assassinating Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, has recognized that it is facing an “unprecedented financial crisis” which, if not resolved “immediately”, will lead to the disappearance of this international body will drag on in the coming months.
The court, which has already informed the United Nations of its plight, is heavily dependent on voluntary contributions from donor countries with 51 percent, while the Lebanese state takes over the remaining 49 percent.
Hours later, the UN Secretary General’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, made it clear that the panel was “aware” and “concerned” on this issue. With this in mind, he has assured that Secretary General António Guterres “has been actively involved in efforts to raise additional funds for the Tribunal” and will continue to make appeals to the international community.
It was also stated that $ 15.5 million had been raised to date and that part of the balance corresponding to the Lebanese government was still outstanding.
“We want the member states, the international community, whatever formula they choose to use, to contribute money as soon as possible so that the tribunal can continue its important work and bring justice to the victims,” said Dujarric.
The global impact of the pandemic and the “worrying” situation in Lebanon, which lacks a government with full powers as a result of the crisis sparked by the explosions in the port of Beirut in August 2020, had already forced the court to cut its budget in 2021 by 37 percent.
In March it received aid of $ 15.5 million, with which the United Nations took over three quarters of the payments to Lebanon, but which are insufficient for the continued functioning of the court. The deadline for submissions is the end of July.
The special tribunal for Lebanon succeeded in the process that began in 2014, in which it was the alleged responsibility of several suspected members of the Hezbollah party militia for the murder of Hariri, who in 2005 as a victim of an attack in which around twenty other people lost their lives .
The trial, which was conducted in the absence of the four defendants, ended with a single conviction, that of Salim Jamil Ayyash. Hezbollah has always absolutely rejected the process and has questioned the alleged politicization of the court, which it sees under the influence of the US and Israel.
However, the court has warned that other fronts are open and that its hypothetical closure will ultimately hit victims who “have put their hope and trust in international criminal justice”. With that in mind, he stressed that mechanisms of this type “send a strong message that terrorism does not go unpunished”.