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    NewsMiddle EastBeirut port explosion in 2020: UN calls for international investigation

    Beirut port explosion in 2020: UN calls for international investigation

    Three years after this explosion which left more than 220 dead, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says he is in favor of an international investigation to establish responsibility in this affair.

    The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said Monday he was in favor of an international investigation into the explosion three years ago in the port of Beirut, deploring that “no responsibility has been established” in this case.

    “On the contrary, many concerns have emerged about interference in the investigation, in a context of serious economic and social crisis and weak governance,” he added.

    Three years after this explosion which left more than 220 dead, “it is therefore perhaps time to consider an international fact-finding mission to examine the human rights violations linked to this tragedy”, noted Volker Turk before the Human Rights Council.

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    The political class scrutinized

    The blast, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history, was caused by a fire in a warehouse where tons of ammonium nitrate were carelessly stored despite repeated warnings to top officials.

    On the third anniversary of the explosion, on August 4, hundreds of Lebanese marched to the port to accuse the political class of obstructing the investigation.

    The day before this demonstration, 300 NGOs including Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International as well as families of victims had renewed their call for the formation of an international commission of inquiry.

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    Investigation suspended for 13 months

    In Lebanon, a first judge in charge of the investigation in 2020 had to throw in the towel after indicting the former Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, and three former ministers. His successor, Tarek Bitar, in turn attacked political leaders but Parliament refused to lift the immunity of accused deputies, the Ministry of the Interior opposed the interrogation of senior officers, and security forces refused to execute arrest warrants.

    He was forced to suspend his investigation for 13 months, due to dozens of lawsuits against him from politicians and intense pressure.

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    Judge prosecuted for insubordination

    Last January, he returned to work to everyone’s surprise. He was then prosecuted for insubordination by the attorney general after indicting several high-ranking figures, a first in the history of Lebanon.

    The prosecutor also ordered the release of the 17 people detained without trial since the explosion. The US State Department, for its part, considered that “the lack of progress” in the investigation was “unacceptable”, emphasizing “the need for judicial reform”.

    Source: BFM TV

    Awutar
    Awutar
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