Lebanon crisis

US bemoans Beirut blast probe, calls for judicial reform in Lebanon

“One way or another, they deserve a peaceful path to justice,” the US ambassador said.

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The US ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council Tuesday called on Lebanese officials to allow an investigation into the catastrophic Port of Beirut explosion to proceed, lamenting the lack of progress.

Ambassador Michele Taylor’s comments came at the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council.

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“The victims of the Beirut explosion and their families have demanded justice, and those responsible for a disaster that killed more than 200 people and injured and displaced thousands more should be held accountable,” Taylor said.

The US and the international community have repeatedly called for a transparent investigation into the August 2020 blast, but Hezbollah and its allies in the country have blocked the judge tasked with the probe from carrying out his work.

The Iran-backed group has reportedly gone as far as threatening “to remove” the judge, Tarek Bitar.

Bitar has received death threats, been issued a travel ban by Lebanese courts, and had charges filed against him for efforts to question sitting and former officials.

“In the absence of accountability in Lebanon, victims of the blast will continue to call for alternative paths to justice. One way or another, they deserve a peaceful path to justice,” the US ambassador said on Tuesday.

“The lack of progress on the investigation to date underscores the need for judicial reform and respect for the rule of law in Lebanon,” she added.

Read more: Lebanese MP delivers petition to US: Sanction obstructers of Beirut blast probe

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