Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab warned on Friday of the "very serious consequences" that could result from suspending the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).
This came in a letter sent by Diab to United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, published by the official Lebanese National News Agency (NNA), a day after the UN announced the suspension of the STL until further notice due to a financial crisis. The STL is currently tasked with investigating the assassination of late Prime Minister Rafic Hariri.
The Lebanese prime minister indicated that the suspension of the tribunal's work: "Would have very serious repercussions that will affect only Lebanon and the victims of the barbaric attack." He expressed his firm belief that financial difficulties: "Should not impede the completion of the work of the tribunal."
Diab added: "The government of Lebanon will be grateful for your urgent exploration of different and alternative means to finance the tribunal in cooperation with the Security Council and UN member states to assist in accomplishing this mission."
On Thursday, Spokesperson for the United Nations secretary-general Stephane Dujarric announced during a press conference in New York that the suspension of the STL work was due to the "severe financial crisis faced by the court."
The STL is a tribunal approved by the UN Security Council to carry out the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the assassination of Hariri and 21 victims on 14 February, 2005.
On 18 August, the STL convicted in absentia Salim Ayyash, a member of the Lebanese Hezbollah group, of participating in Hariri's assassination.