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

The following is the full text of Diab’s letter to Guterres:

“Dear Mr. Secretary General,

I am writing to Your Excellency concerning the recent developments affecting the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

As you know, on April 16, 2021, the United Nations General Assembly appropriated an additional amount of 15,503,355 dollars to supplement the financial resources of the Tribunal. This subvention was endorsed thanks to your diligent care and to the solidarity of the Member States keen on securing funding for the completion of the Tribunal remaining judicial proceedings.

In this regard, the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions recommended “to apply the subvention to the potential shortfall in the share of the Government of Lebanon to the Special Tribunal only”.

While the above-mentioned appropriation helped to address part of the STL difficulties, it did not resolve, however, the whole financial issue. Regretfully, most of the Tribunal projected voluntary funding, mentioned in the request for a subvention, did not materialize (Ref. report of the Secretary General dated February 19, 2021 paragraph 50) and even the expected “shortfall in voluntary contribution from other donors” is still uncovered. (Ref. report of the Advisory Committee dated March 19, 2021 paragraph 21).Therefore, the Tribunal faces serious financial challenges which could impair its capacity to continue operating, as planned for, in the current year 2021.

Such occurrence would be very grave, impacting not only Lebanon and the victims of the barbaric and outrageous attack on former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and their families, as well as other matters within its mandate, but also the ability of international judicial institutions to serve justice fully. Indeed, the most harmful consequence would be the legacy of a fragmented justice, resulting from the interruption of the STL work, to all claimants and people who trust that the rule of law and the fight against impunity are necessary and complementary requirements to live in peace, security and harmony.

As we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the Tribunal, we firmly believe that the financial difficulties must not hinder the fulfilment of its mandate. Moreover, I fervently hope that the STL Management Committee and “the Group of Interested States”, with whom Lebanon shares the founding principles of the Tribunal, will continue to provide it with the support much needed at this crucial time of its life span.

Given the STL financial challenges and taking into consideration Lebanon’s continuing acute hardships reflected in your relevant report dated February 19, 2021, the Government of Lebanon would be grateful if Your Excellency could urgently explore with the Security Council and the Member States alternate means of financing the Tribunal for the completion of its mission in accordance with the Security Council resolution 1757 (2007) and the relevant agreement between the United Nations and the Lebanese Republic annexed thereto and as a follow-up to UNGA resolution A/Res/75/253B dated April 16, 2021.

Please accept, Mr. Secretary General, the assurances of my high consideration and sincere gratitude.”

Source: National News Agency