Criminal responsibility and legal proceedings in the aftermath of the Beirut blast: throwing (more) dust in the eyes of the Lebanese?

Par Lynn Fouad, étudiante au sein du Master droit économique 

“You have your Lebanon and I have mine. You have your Lebanon with her problems, and I have my Lebanon with her beauty. You have your Lebanon with all her prejudices and struggles, and I have my Lebanon with all her dreams and securities. Your Lebanon is inhabited by functionaries, officers, politicians, committees, and factions. My Lebanon is for peasants, shepherds, young boys and girls, parents and poets. Your Lebanon is empty and fleeting, whereas My Lebanon will endure forever,”[1] imparted by famous author and poet Gibran Khalil Gibran in a message to the Lebanese people in 1920. A hundred years later, his words are still as relevant as ever and seem to timelessly illustrate the irreconcilable division between the Lebanese people and its ruling elite, which has continuously marked modern Lebanese history and politics. The “Beirut blast” represents another emblematic example of this divide and of the paradoxes upon which the Cedar country has been tirelessly built, torn and rebuilt.

On August 4th 2020, Lebanon’s capital city suffered a blast of a devastating violence, considered one of the most powerful non-nuclear explosions in history. Experts from the University of Sheffield have evaluated the strength of the blast to be a tenth of the explosive power of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War II[2]. More than 200 people were found dead, over 6,500 injured and 300,000 left displaced or homeless. According to Amnesty International, it led to 70,000 workers losing their jobs, impacting over 12,000 households in total[3]. The full scope of the disaster is still to be determined – yet it destroyed the vital port which has spurred Beirut’s development since the 19th century, and receives over 60% of Lebanon’s imported goods, as well as large parts of the city’s residential and commercial districts. The World Bank has estimated the cost of the physical damage to be US$3.8-4.6 billion and that of the economic losses to be US$2.9-3.5 billion[4].

This tragic event occurred while Lebanon was already on the brink of collapse, facing its worst financial and economic crisis since the 1975-1990 Civil War, severe political turmoil, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides, it only adds to the long list of catastrophes the Lebanese people have relentlessly overcome with the admirable resilience they are known for; however, its unprecedented scale and the incommensurable suffering it has caused have dashed their already dwindling hopes for a better future.

I – THE BEIRUT BLAST: GENESIS OF A PREVENTABLE DISASTER

While speculation was first running high on a possible Israeli airstrike targeting Hezbollah arms stored in the Beirut port, both Israeli and Hezbollah authorities quickly denied any involvement of Israel in the blast, thus ruling out the hypothesis of an international war crime which could also qualify as a crime against humanity. Lebanon’s Director of General Security Abbas Ibrahim then declared that the explosion was caused by a fire breaking out near 2,750 tonnes of highly explosive ammonium nitrate stored unsafely in a warehouse at the port for the last seven years[5]. On August 7th, Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Hassan Diab confirmed this version. The President admitted in a televised interview that he was first informed of the stockpile around three weeks prior to the blast and declared that he then immediately gave orders to the military and security authorities to do “what was needed”. He further suggested that his responsibility ended there, claiming he had no authority over the port and that previous governments had been told of its presence[6]. The Prime Minister did not respond to the allegations that he was aware the ammonium nitrate was stored in immediate proximity to the city.

Evidence surfaced over the hours and shed light on the sequence of events leading up to the explosion. The MV Rhosus, a ship transporting 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate from Georgia to Mozambique, had been impounded by the Lebanese authorities in 2013 and abandoned by its owners as they had gone bankrupt. On June 27th 2014, an official decision from Urgent Matters judge (juge des référés) Jad Maalouf authorised the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation to dry-dock the ship, which was in danger of sinking. The decision also clearly stated that the ship was carrying “dangerous material that had to be stored in appropriate conditions and under the responsibility of the Ministry of Transportation”[7]. As a result, the explosives had been unloaded in the Beirut port that same year and moved to Warehouse 12 until it exploded.

Court documents evidenced that Badri Daher, Chief of General Customs, and his predecessors had addressed at least six letters to the Court of Urgent Matters, warning that this material posed a high security risk and shall be removed from the port[8]. Official documents also evidenced that over the last six years, authorities from Lebanon’s customs, military, security agencies and judiciary equally raised alarm on several occasions that the ammonium nitrate stored in Beirut’s port was a powder keg about to explode and that if this were to happen, it would blow up the entire city. In July 2020, State Security finally inspected Warehouse 12 and sent a report to President Aoun and Prime Minister Diab on July 20th informing them that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were stored in the port and detailing the risks associated with it[9]. In spite of these warnings and notwithstanding the President’s attempt to clear his name in his televised interview of August 7th, the government failed to take any action to dispose of the material.

While still recovering from this tragic event and mourning their friends and family, the Lebanese people gathered to protest in the streets of Beirut, demanding immediate accountability and redress from what resulted to be the disastrous consequence of preventable government negligence. On August 10th, the government resigned, citing lack of public confidence in the administration, but remains as of today in a caretaker capacity.

II – NATIONAL LEGAL PROCEEDINGS: A CLASSIC TALE OF CORRUPT POLITICS AND FLAWED JUDICIARY

A clear reluctance to shed light on the case from the outset of the investigation

Immediately after the explosion, victims of the blast as well as numerous world leaders and international organisations called for a “prompt, impartial, credible and independent investigation […] to examine all claims, concerns and needs in relation to the explosion”[10]. Indeed, the August 4th blast represented the tipping point of everything the Lebanese had been protesting between October 2019 and March 2020 (when movement restrictions were implemented in response to COVID-19): a political system plagued by bribery and smuggling, as well as highly inefficient judicial institutions, with dysfunction and corruption hard-wired into nearly every aspect of the sequence of events that led to the blast. Therefore, the magnitude of the crime, coupled with decades-long experience of impunity in the country notably due to networks of interests and insufficient judicial independence, called for an international probe.

However, Lebanese authorities and most importantly President Aoun rejected those calls without any justification. The legal investigation of the case thus remains in the sole hands of national instances, thereby allowing Lebanese authorities to escape international scrutiny at least in part.

On August 5th, the government set up a committee headed by the Prime Minister and composed of the ministers of Justice, Defence and Interior as well as the heads of the top four military and security institutions of the country to conduct a five-day “administrative inquiry” into the Beirut port explosion.

Focusing on the composition of this committee, questions immediately arise regarding its independence and impartiality. Indeed, it must be firstly noted that its members are under the spotlight themselves regarding legal responsibility for the blast. In addition, by setting up such committee, the executive branch is running an investigation into the responsibilities of public administrations that are subject to its own authority. Consequently, the good conduct of the investigations is likely to be threatened by the interference of the executive branch with the proceedings, and while this investigation committee was due to submit its findings to the Council of Ministers of Lebanon on August 11th 2020, it has made no public announcements as of February 2021.

Moreover, immediate measures have hardly been taken to preserve the crime scene and prevent evidence tampering. The Lebanese Code of Criminal Procedure requires that in the occurrence of an in flagrante felony, the competent public prosecutor and first investigating judge must go immediately to the location where the felony took place[11]. However, watchdog group The Legal Agenda has reported that “while acting government military commissioner Fadi Akiki did visit the site, neither the head of the Military Court’s Investigation Department Fadi Sawwan nor the head of the regular Investigation Department in Beirut Charbel Abou Samra did”[12]. Considering the exceptional scale of the blast, this failure to protect the crime scene and send magistrates on site raises evident concerns as to the judiciary’s willingness to diligently investigate the case.

Into the investigation: lifting the veil on primary due process violations

On August 10th, the Cassation Public Prosecutor (Procureur général près la Cour de cassation) Ghassan Oueidat announced the arrest of 19 persons following an investigation he had ordered the Internal Security Forces to launch on August 5th. According to his statement, the investigation was focused “on the direct and indirect causes of the explosion; the ship that brought the explosive materials to the port; and ‘responsibilities’”[13]. The government then had the option to either refer the case to a military tribunal, considering that it fell under its jurisdiction, or to the Justice Council (also translated as the Judicial Council – Conseil de justice), a court of exception, given the magnitude of the crime. The Cassation Public Prosecutor had recommended this second option in his statement, which has been followed by the government that same day via a discretionary decree adopted by the Council of Ministers.

However, the composition and provisions relating to the Justice Council, which is the highest court in Lebanon, are also vastly problematic regarding concerns of independence and impartiality.

The Justice Council is composed of five members appointed by the government following a recommendation by the minister of Justice and subject to the consent of the High Judicial Council (also translated as Supreme Council of the Judiciary – Conseil supérieur de la magistrature)[14]. It has exclusive jurisdiction over external and internal breaches of security of the State and is often considered a political court because of its organic link with political authorities[15]. Indeed, the Lebanese Code of Criminal Procedure provides that the cases it receives are those referred to it by the government upon recommendation of the minister of Justice[16]. The government’s power to select cases to refer to the Justice Council thus raises concerns “that their selection for prosecution by this court may be based on political considerations rather than legal merit” – concerns which had already proved well-founded in the infamous Qabr Shmoun case[17], eventually referred to the Military Tribunal in 2019.

A basic legal analysis of the provisions relating to the Justice Council reveals that they contravene Lebanon’s constitutional and international obligations to safeguard and ensure the judiciary’s independence from executive authorities. They notably violate article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Lebanon has been party to since 1972. The ICCPR provides for the right to an independent and impartial tribunal and imposes on States the obligation to take measures guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary, as well as article 5 of the UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary and article 20 of the Lebanese Constitution which contain similar obligations.

The International Commission of Jurists had already underlined, in a memorandum published in 2017, that the provisions relating to the High Judicial Council’s composition, competencies and the guarantees of its independence fell short of the aforementioned international and constitutional standards guaranteeing the right to an independent and impartial tribunal and more generally the independence of the judiciary[18]. Equal concerns apply to the Justice Council, especially since the decisions of the Justice Council cannot be appealed in any way, except if the trial is revised before the Justice Council itself[19]. These provisions constitute further violations of Lebanon’s obligations under international law to guarantee an effective right to appeal, and more particularly of article 14 §5 of the ICCPR. Such concerns had been raised as early as 1997 by the UN Human Rights Committee, urging Lebanon to reform these institutions[20]. It seems these recommendations have fallen on deaf ears.

Falling into the legal void? The Justice Council’s lack of jurisdiction over sitting and former officials

More troubling, it shall further be noted that the Justice Council does not have jurisdiction to prosecute sitting or former officials, including the President and ministers. This means that while it has exclusive jurisdiction over breaches of security of the State, it is incompetent to try top-officials that may have been involved in such breaches. This is particularly problematic given the serious allegations that Lebanese state authorities were responsible for the Beirut blast. Amnesty International reported that it has already consequences, stating that on August 14th, following the referral of the case to the Justice Council, “an investigating judge in the preliminary investigation under the State Prosecutor announced the suspension of a planned interrogation of former and current ministers of finance and public works; he indicated, by way of explanation, that he anticipated the investigating judge under the Justice Council would confirm it did not have jurisdiction to conduct such interrogations”[21].

Under Lebanese constitutional law, only the High Court of Justice (Haute Cour de Justice), another court of exception, has jurisdiction to prosecute sitting and former officials including Presidents and Ministers[22]. It is supposed to consist of seven MPs elected by parliament in a vote and of eight high-ranking judges appointed by the judiciary according to their rank and, in case of equal rank, in order of seniority.

However, not only has the High Court of Justice never exercised its powers since no President or Minister has been prosecuted since its creation, but it remains an unconstituted body. In February 2019, amid widespread debate about the country’s governance, the Speaker of Parliament called for a session to elect the seven MPs for the High Court of Justice; this duly occurred in March 2019[23]. The judiciary, however, has to date not appointed its eight members, thus once again evidencing its submission to the executive.

The appointment process of the Judicial Investigating Judge: is the third time really a charm?

Following the referral of the case to the Justice Council, a Judicial Investigating Judge with broad powers shall then be appointed by the minister of Justice following approval by the High Judicial Council for this specific case. Noteworthy are the facts that eight of the ten members that compose the High Judicial Council are appointed by the executive branch, and that the High Judicial Council does not have to follow any objective criteria in the nomination process[24]. On August 13th, the High Judicial Council accepted the appointment of judge Fadi Sawwan as Judicial Investigator by the caretaker minister of justice Marie-Claude Najm.

This nomination appears to have been the result of a power struggle between Minister Najm and the High Judicial Council, as the latter refused the first two names proposed by the minister before accepting that of Fadi Sawwan. The following elements show that this process was equally tainted with several issues relating to impartiality and independence.

First, the High Judicial Council evicted two suitable candidates without any justification. Judge Samir Younes and judge Tarek Bitar are equally known for their integrity and independence and have both voiced their willingness to conduct the investigations; therefore, it is quite unsettling that the High Judicial Council rejected their names.

While several judges implied that judge Bitar was “made to decline”, judge Younes issued an edifying statement suggesting that he was “ruled out not only because he fought for the truth in [notable cases, including the famous White House Restaurant case], but also because he is a testament to the weakness of some of the most prominent High Judicial Council members”[25] – including Cassation Public Prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat himself.

The High Judicial Council refused to justify those rejections on the ground that Lebanon’s Decree-Law on the organisation of the judiciary compels it to maintain its deliberations confidential. Yet, following growing media criticism of this nomination process, it issued a statement on August 19th in which it declared that speculation over the process behind Sawwan’s appointment “does not correspond to reality.” It reaffirmed that it would not disclose its deliberations pursuant to the provisions of the Decree-Law on the organisation of the judiciary and called “on everyone not to question the investigations that have taken place and are taking place, and to give the judiciary complete trust”.[26]

However, as Nizar Saghieh (Director of watchdog group The Legal Agenda) notes, the confidentiality provided for by Article 11 of the Decree-Law on the organisation of the judiciary does not encompass the final decision that follows the deliberations, its rationale, or the votes of the members. He further notes that irrespective of whether the High Judicial Council’s reasonings to evict judges Younes and Bitar were correct, “its appeal for complete public trust in the judiciary was akin to a call for blind faith – all while its vice-president, Ghassan Oueidat, controls the investigations and appointments despite a clear conflict of interest”[27].

Coming to the second element, judicial sources have indeed pointed out that Cassation Public Prosecutor Oueidat, who is also vice-president of the High Judicial Council, had a decisive influence on the appointment process while being the brother-in-law of Ghazi Zaiter, the former Minister of Transport and Public Works, who was the supervisory authority of the Beirut port for nearly three years.

Despite this blatant conflict of interest, Oueidat refused to recuse himself from the nomination process and waited until December 15th 2020 to recuse himself from the investigation[28], thereby once again threatening the independent and impartial conduct of the proceedings.

The nomination of Fadi Sawwan as Judicial Investigator: the Lebanese judiciary failing the test of trust

Concerning Sawwan, despite his reputation as a judge of integrity and honesty who specialised in cases of terrorism over his 30-year long career in the judiciary, several lawyers including Nizar Saghieh have voiced scepticism about his ability to resist political pressures.

As an investigating judge at the military tribunal since 2009, judge Sawwan is perceived as close to the security establishment. Previous high-profile cases investigated by him – notably the Qabr Shmoun and Alaa Abou Fakher cases – have led to accusations of ‘bowing to political interference’[29]. The considerable involvement of security forces in the Beirut port explosion have thus made victims and watchdog groups wary about his objectivity in the conduct of the investigation proceedings, especially since his indictment will define the contours of the case, and once it is issued, it will narrow the case down and make it difficult for new evidence against other suspects to be added. Most importantly, this bill of indictment will be presented to the Justice Council by the Cassation Public Prosecutor without any possibility of appeal.

These fears eventually turned out to be well-founded. As of 1 September 2020, Judge Sawwan had issued arrest warrants against “25 suspects, including the director-general of Beirut’s port and the director-general of Lebanon’s customs authority; all of them have been placed in custody”[30]. However, none of these suspects were top-level officials. Judge Sawwan justified this stance invoking lack of jurisdiction to try presidents and ministers on the grounds that it is the High Court of Justice’s exclusive competence. Although official correspondence and court documents clearly evidence that many of these top-level officials were aware of the explosives being stored in the port for years and failed to take action, Judge Sawwan has called in 48 of them as “witnesses”[31].

Consequently, none of these officials is considered a suspect in this case and will be charged despite the overwhelming evidence against them, while Sawwan’s indictment cannot be appealed. The Lebanese judiciary has thus failed the Lebanese people by demonstrating its acute inefficiency as well as its inability to resist political interference and networks of interest jeopardising the good conduct of the proceedings, and most importantly by leaving those responsible for the blast get off scot-free.

III – THE (IN)APPLICABILITY OF INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL LAW: AN IMPASSE TO BRING JUSTICE TO VICTIMS?

Given the flagrant responsibility of the Lebanese government in failing to take the necessary measures to prevent the blast and the reluctance of the Lebanese judiciary to investigate and try top-level officials, victims could legitimately seek remedy through international criminal jurisdictions. However, several obstacles stand in their way.

To start, Lebanon is not currently a state party to the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute. Therefore, the International Criminal Court does not, prima facie, have jurisdiction to judge members of the Lebanese government for their criminal liability in the Beirut blast. Nevertheless, considering that articles 13, 14 and 15 of the Rome Statute allow for a State Party or the UN Security Council to refer the case to the Court, or for the ICC Prosecutor herself to open an investigation without Lebanon being a State Party to the Rome Statute, the ICC could still have jurisdiction over the case if the committed crime is comprised in the crimes listed in article 5 of the Statute. The crime potentially committed by members of the Lebanese government would most likely correspond to murder as a crime against humanity (defined in article 7.1.a of the Rome Statute); however, the characterisation of “murder” notably requires criminal intent to be demonstrated.

Could the Lebanese government then be held liable for the direct perpetration of a crime against humanity by omission? While international criminal law does not recognise negligence as a mental element (mens rea) giving rise to criminal responsibility, case law from various international criminal jurisdictions (notably the ICTY in the Blaskic[32] and Strugar[33] cases) seems to recognise recklessness, or its civil law equivalent dolus eventualis. Concerning the ICC, article 30 of the Rome Statute requires, to characterise intent, that the perpetrator is aware that the consequence “will occur in the ordinary course of events”. The interpretation of this article has been put to the test in several ICC cases, notably the Lubanga[34], Bemba[35] and Kenyatta[36] cases in which the Court seemed to eventually recognise a strict version of dolus eventualis, requiring a “high risk” of a certain consequence occurring. Although it may be possible to characterise intent by demonstrating that the Lebanese authorities could not ignore the presence of hazardous chemicals at the port and the high risk that they may provoke an explosion, it will nevertheless prove particularly arduous to overcome both Lebanon’s non-ratification of the Rome Statute and the absence of explicit recognition of recklessness as a mental element giving rise to international criminal liability. Therefore, victims’ prospects of bringing a successful action before the ICC remain slim.

Secondly, the Cedar country does not have domestic legislation criminalising international crimes. As Beirut-based lawyer Clare Brown notes, general rules of international law are recognised in the Lebanese constitution and there has been “a recent trend of activist judges directly applying international law domestically”; however, “there are no laws to ensure perpetrators of crimes against humanity will be punished, and until now, no political will for the adoption of such legislation”[37]. It thus comes as no exaggeration to affirm that the Lebanese people are truly left to their own devices in the face of both national and international criminal legal systems’ failure to bring them justice.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

As of February 2021, the exact cause of the detonation is still under investigation. On January 12th, Interpol issued Red Notices against the owner and the captain of the MV Rhosus following the request filed in September by Lebanon’s state prosecution against the two Russians citizens, as well as a Red Notice against a Portuguese nitrate trader[38]. However, it is only obvious that responsibility for the blast cannot be deflected upon them. The Lebanese government remains accountable for failing to ensure the security of its people and continues as of today to distinguish itself for its incompetence. On February 11th, German firm Combi Lift, which has been commissioned by the Lebanese authorities to clear the docks of the blast-hit port, has declared that Beirut had escaped a second explosion “by chance”[39]. Chemical experts from the company have found thousands of litres of dangerous substances stored in decaying containers for more than a decade, located in the port opposite from the site of the blast.

This only reinforces the case for the seriousness of the accusations directed at the Lebanese government, and illustrates once again the urging necessity to conduct an international probe in order to guarantee that justice is done to the Lebanese people. The extreme interference of the executive in the legal proceedings, the distressing inefficiency and corruption of the Lebanese judiciary, all coupled with the near-impossibility to successfully bring claims before the ICC suggests that the legal system has failed the Lebanese people. It is, after all, not surprising that six months after the blast, the international community has done more to support victims of the blast than their own leaders and their own institutions. But international solidarity can only be a band-aid solution to the systemic failures unveiled by the Beirut blast. Recognition of the victims’ suffering before the courts as well as absolute legal accountability from the government are consequential in overcoming this tragic event. The Lebanese may be famous for their resilience; yet the Beirut blast feels like the final hammer blow in the history of a people that have been enduring for so long. The Phoenix was never meant to be a modern-day Sisyphus, doomed to be rising out of its ashes for eternity.

 

 

[1] G.K. Gibran, The Eye of the Prophet, 1920

[2] S.E. Rigby, T.J. Lodge, S. Alotaibi, et al. Preliminary yield estimation of the 2020 Beirut explosion using video footage from social media. Shock Waves 30, 671–675 (2020),

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00193-020-00970-z

[3] Amnesty International, Lebanon: only an international investigation can ensure Beirut explosion victims’ rights to truth, justice and remedy, 7 September 2020, https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde18/2997/2020/en/

[4] World Bank, Q&A: Beirut Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment – August 2020, 31 August 2020, www.worldbank.org/en/news/factsheet/2020/08/30/qa-beirut-rapid-damage-and-needs-assessment-august-2020

[5] Reuters, Beirut blast area housed highly-explosive materials, says Lebanese internal security chief, 4 August 2020, https://fr.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN2502CQ

[6] Associated Press, Officials long warned of explosive chemicals at Beirut port, 8 August 2020, https://apnews.com/6bec1c8ecb5061bf2dd98107aeb151d9

[7] Le Commerce du Levant, Explosion au port de Beyrouth : qui est responsable ?, 6 August 2020, https://www.lecommercedulevant.com/article/29998-explosion-au-port-de-beyrouth-les-responsables-cherchent-un-bouc-emissaire

[8] Ibid

[9] Associated Press, Officials long warned of explosive chemicals at Beirut port, 8 August 2020, https://apnews.com/6bec1c8ecb5061bf2dd98107aeb151d9

[10] Joint Statement by 38 UN Human Rights experts, OHCHR, Geneva, 13 August 2020, https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=26163&LangID=E

[11] Article 31 of the Lebanese Code of Criminal Procedure.

[12] N. Saghieh, Twelve Bad Signs at the Outset of the Beirut Massacre Investigation, The Legal Agenda, 28 September 2020, https://english.legal-agenda.com/twelve-bad-signs-at-the-outset-of-the-beirut-massacre-investigation/

[13] Annahar, Oueidat presents approach and method of investigation into port explosion, 10 August 2020.

[14] Decree-Law No. 150/83 of 16 September 1983 on the organisation of the judiciary (Loi sur l’organisation de la magistrature).

[15] M. Mansour, C. Daoud, Lebanon : The Independence and Impartiality of the Judiciary, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, 2010.

[16] Article 355 of the Lebanese Code of Criminal Procedure.

[17] M. Karam, Ce qu’il faut savoir sur la Cour de justice, un tribunal d’exception qui fait polémique, L’Orient-le-Jour, 10 July 2019, https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1178141/ce-quil-faut-savoir-sur-la-cour-de-justice-un-tribunal-dexception-qui-fait-polemique.html

[18] International Commission of Jurists, The Lebanese High Judicial Council in Light of International Standards: a briefing paper, February 2017, https://www.icj.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Lebanon-Memo-re-HJC-Advocacy-Analysis-Brief-2017-ENG.pdf

[19] Articles 366 and 367 of the Lebanese Code of Criminal Procedure.

[20] Recommendations of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, April 1997 in Mansour M., Daoud C., Lebanon : the Independence and Impartiality of the Judiciary, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, 2010.

[21] Amnesty International, Lebanon: only an international investigation can ensure Beirut explosion victims’ rights to truth, justice and remedy, 7 September 2020, https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde18/2997/2020/en/

[22] Article 80 of the Lebanese Constitution.

[23] Amnesty International, Lebanon: only an international investigation can ensure Beirut explosion victims’ rights to truth, justice and remedy, 7 September 2020, https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde18/2997/2020/en/

[24] N. Saghieh, Twelve Bad Signs at the Outset of the Beirut Massacre Investigation, The Legal Agenda, 28 September 2020, https://english.legal-agenda.com/twelve-bad-signs-at-the-outset-of-the-beirut-massacre-investigation/

[25] Ibid

[26] T. Azhari, Fadi Sawan: The man leading the Beirut explosion investigation, Al-Jazeera, 21 August 2020

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/8/21/fadi-sawan-the-man-leading-the-beirut-explosion-investigation

[27] N. Saghieh, Twelve Bad Signs at the Outset of the Beirut Massacre Investigation, The Legal Agenda, 28 September 2020, https://english.legal-agenda.com/twelve-bad-signs-at-the-outset-of-the-beirut-massacre-investigation/

[28] National News Agency, Oueidat Recuses Himself in Port Explosion Probe, 15 December 2020, http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/277615-oueidat-recuses-himself-in-port-explosion-probe

[29] N. Saghieh, Twelve Bad Signs at the Outset of the Beirut Massacre Investigation, The Legal Agenda, 28 September 2020, https://english.legal-agenda.com/twelve-bad-signs-at-the-outset-of-the-beirut-massacre-investigation/

[30] Amnesty International, Lebanon: only an international investigation can ensure Beirut explosion victims’ rights to truth, justice and remedy, 7 September 2020, https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde18/2997/2020/en/

[31] T. Azhari, No top officials to be indicted over Beirut blast: Sources, Al-Jazeera, 29 October 2020, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/29/no-top-officials-to-be-indicted-over-beirut-blast-sources

[32] ICTY, The Prosecutor v. Tihomir Blaskic, IT-95-14-A, §166.

[33] ICTY, The Prosecutor v. Pavle Strugar, IT-01-42-A, §270.

[34] ICC, The Prosecutor v. Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, ICC-01/04-01/06, §352.

[35] ICC, The Prosecutor v. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, ICC-01/05-01/08, §360.

[36] ICC, The Prosecutor v. Francis Kirimi Muthaura, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and Mohammed Hussein Ali, ICC-01/09-02/11, §411.

[37] C. Brown, M. Kersten, A Reckless Crime Against Humanity: Justice for the Victims of the Beirut Blasts, Justice in Conflict, 13 August 2020, https://justiceinconflict.org/2020/08/13/a-reckless-crimes-against-humanity-justice-for-the-victims-of-the-beirut-blasts/

[38] Reuters, Interpol red notices issued for ship captain, owner over Beirut blast – Lebanese state media, 13 January 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/lebanon-crisis-blast-interpol/interpol-red-notices-issued-for-ship-captain-owner-over-beirut-blast-lebanese-state-media-idINKBN29I182

[39] AFP, Beirut was ‘lucky’, says German firm clearing blast-hit port, 11 February 2021, https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210211-beirut-was-lucky-says-german-firm-clearing-blast-hit-port

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