| 29 February 2024, Thursday |

Diab to Guterres: To explore alternative methods for financing the court

Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab sent a letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres, vis a vis the latest developments related to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

It stated the follows:

As you know, the United Nations General Assembly has allocated an additional $15,503,355 to supplement the Court’s financial resources. This aid has been approved by your tireless efforts and sincere concern and the support of Member States that have shown their keenness to secure the necessary funding for the Court to finalize its remaining judicial procedures. In this regard, the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Affairs recommended allocating this aid to fill the possible shortage in Lebanon’s share only, in favor of the court. Although the above-mentioned aid has contributed, to some extent, in resolving part of the difficulties faced by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, it has not solved the entire financial problem. Unfortunately, most of the voluntary contributions the Court has expected that it will fund its required budget, and which was mentioned in your request, was not fulfilled. (Reference: Report of the Secretary-General dated February 19, 2021, paragraph. 50), and we would also like to point out that even the “shortage in voluntary contributions from other donors”, which you have asked for, remains without financial coverage. (Reference: Report of the Advisory Committee of March 19, 2021, paragraph. 21).”

He added: “Therefore, the court is facing serious financial challenges that might obstruct its ability to continue its work, as planned, for the current year 2021. Such a matter has very serious consequences and its repercussions will not be limited only to Lebanon and the victims of the barbaric and outrageous attack on the former Prime Minister  “Rafic Hariri” and the others concerned , not to mention other cases within the jurisdiction of the Court’s warrants, but also on the ability of international judicial institutions to serve justice comprehensively . Indeed, the most painful consequences of the cessation of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s work, will be an image’s reflection of a fragmented and incomplete justice for all those who demand justice, and those who trust in the rule of law for living in peace, security and harmony. As we reaffirm our firm commitment to the Tribunal, we firmly believe that these financial difficulties should not hamper its work’s completion. I also hope that the Administrative Committee of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and countries that share Lebanon in the founding principles of the Tribunal, will continue to provide it with all support needed at such a critical time in its history and to fulfill its responsibility.

He concluded: “Due to the challenges facing the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and considering the dire crisis Lebanon is witnessing as mentioned in your report on February 19, 2021, the Government of Lebanon would be grateful to Your Excellency for urgently exploring various and alternative means of financing the Tribunal with The Security Council and Member States, to assist it in fulfilling its task,  in accordance with Security Council resolution 1757 (2007) and the relevant agreement between the United Nations and Lebanon regarding the establishment of the tribunal annexed to, and as a  follow-up to United Nations General Assembly resolution A/Res/75/253B of  April16, 2021. Please accept, Mr. Secretary-General, my highest consideration and gratitude.”