United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres extended on Thursday the mandate of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) for a further period of two years.
“The UNSC extended the Tribunal’s mandate from 1 March 2021 for a further period of two years, or until the completion of the cases before the STL, if sooner, or until the exhaustion of available funds, if sooner. The extension is in accordance with Security Council resolution 1757 (2007),” a statement by UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.
Guterres reaffirmed the UN commitment to support the STL in the fight against impunity for the crimes under its jurisdiction, in order to bring those responsible to justice.
Following Guterres’ decision, STL President Judge Ivana Hrdlicková said: "I am grateful for the international community’s continued support towards the STL’s work, which serves as a strong global message that terrorist crimes will not go unpunished."
"Together with my colleagues at the Tribunal, I remain highly committed to fulfilling the STL’s mandate in a timely manner and render justice to the victims through fair and transparent proceedings.”
Hrdlicková had requested the two-year extension to allow the Tribunal to progressively draw down its activities and complete the judicial work before the different Chambers.
The mandate of the STL, which is based near The Hague in the Netherlands, is to hold trials for those accused of carrying out the attack of 14 February 2005 in Beirut, which killed 22 people, including the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Rafik Hariri, and injured 226 more.
On 18 August 2020, Salim Jamil Ayyash was convicted in relation to five counts relating to the attack.
Pre-trial proceedings began in 2019 against Ayyash in relation to three attacks against Marwan Hamade, Georges Hawi and Elias El-Murr that occurred on 1 October 2004, 21 June 2005 and 12 July 2005, respectively.
Recently, the UN Secretary-General said he intends to request approximately $25 million from the General Assembly to cover the anticipated shortfall in funding the STL from the Lebanese government and donors in 2021.