Commending Work of Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Secretary-General Extends Mandate until December 2023 to Complete Non-Judicial Tasks, Ensure Orderly Closure
The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres:
The Secretary-General has extended the mandate of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon from 1 March 2023 to 31 December 2023 for the limited purpose of completion of the non-judicial residual functions of the Special Tribunal and for the orderly closure of the Special Tribunal.
Mandated to conduct the trials of those accused of carrying out the attack of 14 February 2005 in Beirut that killed 22 people, including the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri, and injured 226 others, the work of the Special Tribunal based near The Hague in the Netherlands is coming to its end.
Following a complex investigation and a trial in absentia, the Special Tribunal acquitted Assad Hassan Sabra and convicted Salim Jamil Ayyash, Hassan Habib Merhi, and Hussein Hassan Oneissi for their roles in the attack, sentencing them to five concurrent sentences of life imprisonment, the heaviest sentence possible under the Tribunal’s Statute and Rules.
A completion plan, developed and agreed between the United Nations and the Government of Lebanon, will guide the Special Tribunal during this mandate period to ensure the completion of the Tribunal’s residual functions, including the preservation of the records and archives of the Special Tribunal, responding to requests for information, and ensuring the protection and support of victims and witnesses who cooperated with the Special Tribunal.
The Secretary-General commends the work of all the judges, senior officials and staff who have worked tirelessly and diligently over the years to implement the Special Tribunal’s mandate and calls upon Member States to continue to support the Special Tribunal in 2023 to ensure that its residual functions can be completed and its legacy can be ensured.