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Lebanon: Special Tribunal risks closure due to funding crisis

Judges David Re (2ndL) and Janet Nosworthy (L) are seen before the start of the session of the Lebanon Tribunal in Leidschendam, on 11 December 2020, where the sentence was set for Salim Jamil Ayyash, a member of the Hezbollah militant group who was convicted of involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others 15 years ago. [PETER DEJONG/ANP/AFP via Getty Images]
Judges David Re (2ndL) and Janet Nosworthy (L) are seen before the start of the session of the Lebanon Tribunal in Leidschendam, on 11 December 2020, where the sentence was set for Salim Jamil Ayyash, a member of the Hezbollah militant group who was convicted of involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others 15 years ago. [PETER DEJONG/ANP/AFP via Getty Images]

The Special Tribunal for Lebanon announced on Wednesday that the ongoing financial crisis may cause it to stop its work if it cannot overcome the problem by next month, Anadolu has reported.

The tribunal specialises in trying the people who were responsible for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in 2005. The closure possibility was published by Lebanon's National News Agency (NNA).

"The Special Tribunal for Lebanon regrets to announce that it is facing an unprecedented financial crisis," said the official statement. "Without immediate funding, the tribunal will not be able to operate beyond July 2021."

The court was created under a UN Security Council resolution in 2007 and started work two years later. Its 2020 budget was estimated at 55 million Euros ($67 million), of which Lebanon pays 49 per cent and donors and UN member states pay the remainder.

On 26 March, the UN allocated $15.5 million to the tribunal, but the funds were insufficient for it to complete its mandate.

Rafic Hariri served as Lebanon's prime minister from 1992 to 1998, and again from 2000 until he resigned in October 2004. He was killed in February 2005 by a massive car bomb in Beirut. Twenty-two other people were also killed in the explosion, and 226 were wounded.

Lebanon has been suffering for more than a year from the worst economic crisis since the end of the civil war in 1990. There has been a record depreciation of the national currency against the US dollar, the collapse of the purchasing power of the majority of the population, and a dramatic rise in the number of people living in poverty.

READ: Lebanon suffering one of world's worst economic crises, World Bank says

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International OrganisationsLebanonMiddle EastNewsUN
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