The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

Search This Blog

December 17, 2009

Daily Star - Tribunal will be forced to run at 20 percent of estimated budget - December 17, 2009

United states has made $6 million pledge towards 2010 funding

By Michael Bluhm

BEIRUT: The Special Tribunal for Lebanon will operate in 2010 with a $55.35-million budget, a figure almost 20 percent lower than an estimate provided in May by the tribunal’s chief executive at the time. Former tribunal registrar Robin Vincent told The Daily Star on May 26 that he was projecting budgets of $65 million for the tribunal in 2010 and 2011.
The tribunal was officially established on March 1 to try suspects in the February 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and other political violence, although investigators have been looking into Hariri’s killing since 2005 without presenting any indictments.
The tribunal’s management committee, consisting largely of representatives of those states which contribute to the court’s funding, approved the 2010 budget on December 9, said tribunal registrar David Tolbert. Bilateral agreements require Lebanon to provide 49 percent of the court’s funding for 2010 and 2011.
Vincent’s $65-million figure represented “just general estimates for overall planning,” said Peter Foster, the tribunal’s chief of public affairs and outreach. A September 2007 report to the UN Security Council from the office of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon forecast a budget of $40 million for the tribunal’s second year of operations, Foster added.
“Obviously, as with any estimation, the figures were bound to change once the [tribunal] organs were all fully operational and ready to provide a more detailed outline of how they see their work progressing during the year,” Foster said.
“The $55.35-million budget falls right in the middle of the previous estimate ranges and will provide the [tribunal] with the resources it needs to conduct its work using the highest standards of international justice,” he added.
Foster and Tolbert refused to provide any figures regarding contributions to the court’s 2010 funding, but officials have previously declared more than $10 million in pledges, led by a $6-million pledge by the US.
“We are now in the process of informing states of the budget’s approval, as well as appealing to them for support funds,” Tolbert said. “This is an ongoing process. However, we are confident that the funds required will be committed during the course of the year.” Tribunal deputy registrar Herman von Hebel has said that the financial condition of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is “much sounder” than during his tenures at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
The largest share of tribunal finances will go toward personnel, Tolbert said, adding that his priority would be in hiring staff for the continuing investigation, led by prosecutor Daniel Bellemare. The court has more than 200 employees, the registrar said.
The tribunal is also paying for the renovation of its building in a suburb of Holland’s The Hague in order to construct a courtroom and holding area for potential defendants. The courtroom should be completed before April next year, although the tribunal can provide temporary trial facilities if needed, Tolbert said.
Hariri’s February 14, 2005 assassination led to the exit of Syrian troops from Lebanon after 29 years, and the tribunal became one of the key issues polarizing Lebanon’s anti-Syrian March 14 and Syrian-backed March 8 political camps. March 14 figures have accused Damascus in Hariri’s killing and for the string of assassinations and attempted assassinations which continued to bedevil the country, while the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad has denied any role in the violence and has said it will not allow its citizens to appear before the tribunal.
Insiders in the international justice community have said that any potential verdicts remain years away. Anyone indicted by the tribunal, regardless of nationality, will certainly raise legal challenges to the tribunal’s legitimacy in advance of any potential trials, lawyers have said.
Defendants will question the circumstances of the tribunal’s founding, the Security Council’s authority connected with court and the Lebanese Parliament’s failure to approve the bilateral treaty establishing the tribunal, the legal insiders added.

No comments:

Post a Comment