Home > Parents of Beirut blast victim, 3, still seeking justice one year on

Parents of Beirut blast victim, 3, still seeking justice one year on


A year after a massive explosion at the Beirut port killed 200, the victims’ grieving families are still waiting for answers, accountability and justice.

Added on the 04/08/2021 07:00:43 - Copyright : Euronews EN

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  • Two years after Beirut mega-blast : 'There is no pathway forward for justice inside the country'

    United Nations experts and top NGOs urged the UN Human Rights Council to launch an international investigation into the deadly Beirut port blast. The August 4, 2020 mega-blast killed more than 200 people and destroyed swathes of the Lebanese capital, after a stockpile of haphazardly stored ammonium nitrate fertiliser caught fire at the port. Lama Fakih, Crisis and conflict director at Human Rights Watch, talked to FRANCE 24.

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    Crisis-hit Lebanon marks two years Thursday (August 4) since a massive explosion ripped through Beirut, with victims' relatives planning protest marches as they keep demanding truth and justice.

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    Lebanon's leading Christian cleric said there could be no immunity from prosecution over the catastrophic Beirut port blast and that officials were evading investigation, as many Lebanese marked the first anniversary by demanding justice. As Lebanon suffers a crippling economic collapse, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai also criticized the ruling class for failing to deal with the crisis - criticism echoed by Western powers at a Paris donors' conference. One year since the blast, caused by a huge quantity of ammonium nitrate kept at the port for years, no senior official has been held to account, infuriating many Lebanese. Lebanon's high-ranking government officials have been widely accused of obstructing the on-going investigation, and they continue to block the lead investigator Judge Tarek Bitar at every turn. And despite the intense pressure at home and abroad, Beirut lawyer Diane Assaf does not believe that the Lebanese legal system "is capable of reaching the truth or holding the murderers accountable." For there to be justice, Ms. Assaf asserts that "we need the establishment of an international, impartial and independent investigative mission. A letter has been sent from approximately 50-52 international NGOs and family victims to the United Nations Human Rights Council to demand an establishment of this investigative mission." Back in July, former PM Saad Hariri went as far as proposing a parliament vote on an amendment to the constitution that would waive immunity for high-ranking government officials. Ms. Assaf explains why that would not be a good idea. "His position is clearly to absorb the frustration and the anger of the Lebanese people, and amending the constitution is a very complicated and difficult process. It will probably never happen. They just need to lift the immunity (immediately) and no need to amend the constitution."

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