Justice for the Victims of the Beirut Port Explosion

Justice for the Victims of the Beirut Port Explosion

August 4, 2022
Signatures: 15,699Next Goal: 25,000
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Why this petition matters

His Excellency António Guterres Secretary-General of the United Nations

Honourable Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council August 4th, 2022

Your Excellencies,

August 4th, 2022 marks the second anniversary of the largest non-nuclear explosion in history which devastated large parts of Beirut, resulted in more than 200 fatalities, thousands of other casualties, and hundreds of thousands of displaced persons. The psychological, social, and financial costs of this tragedy continue to exact a large toll on the surviving victims, their next of kin and the population at large.

The undersigned are relatives of the first responder volunteer firefighters who rushed to extinguish the first blaze at the port, without having been informed of the hazardous materials contained in the hangar. The names of these ten heroes, one woman and nine men who all perished in the Beirut Port Explosion are: Joe Bou Saab, Sahar Fares, Mithal Hawa, Charbel Hitti, Najib Hitti, Rami Kaaki, Charbel Karam, Elie Khouzami, Ralph Mallahi and Joe Noun.

Shortly after the explosion, numerous requests, including petitions signed by hundreds of thousands of Lebanese citizens, called for a United Nations-mandated independent investigation into the Beirut Port Explosion. These were motivated by a lack of confidence in the Government of Lebanon’s and the Lebanese Judiciary’s respective abilities to deal with this crime, given the significant existing conflicts of interest, as well as Lebanon’s historical inability, and lack of technical expertise, in solving past significant crimes.

Unfortunately, these concerns have proven all too well founded. Two years after the tragedy, neither truth nor justice are forthcoming.

Although several former Ministers (and current Members of Parliament) have been indicted, they and their political parties have successfully managed to hinder the investigation through the blatant abuse of the political and judiciary processes. The current investigative magistrate, Judge Tarek Bitar, has been prevented from carrying out his duties since December 2021 through spurious legal challenges.

The undersigned have no confidence that the truth about this tragic event, and the determination of responsibilities, will take place without intervention from the United Nations.

We have been more than patient in awaiting the outcome of the Lebanese judicial process. The United Nations and the international community must now recognize that the local process is irremediably flawed and cannot lead to truth or justice.

As such, unless the investigative judge is reinstated and able to perform his duties without further hindrance, and confirms his ability and willingness to issue his final report, within 90 days from the date of this letter, then the undersigned hereby respectfully urge the Security Council to consider and, if appropriate, adopt the following resolutions:

i) establishing and providing funding for a professional and independent commission with a mandate to investigate the causes of the Beirut Port Explosion and determine responsibility for this tragedy; and
ii) directing the Government of Lebanon, the investigative judge, and all other parties in Lebanon to turn over to the commission all information, documents and data in their possession regarding the Beirut Port Explosion and otherwise to cooperate fully with the independent commission.

The surviving victims, the next of kin of those who perished, and the people of Lebanon have suffered greatly and waited patiently for relief and closure. Their hopes now lie with the United Nations. We look forward to your speedy actions.
Respectfully yours

Elie Bou Saab

Karlen Hitti

Elie Mallahi

Maria Fares

Safaa Kaaki

William Noun

Mohamad Hawa

Rita Karam

Georges Hitti

Nancy Khouzami

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Signatures: 15,699Next Goal: 25,000
Support now