Human Rights Watch Is Demanding A United Nations-led Investigation Into Beirut Port Explosion

Nabil Ismail

On Thursday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reiterated calls for an international investigation into the port explosion as the Lebanese-led probe has failed to reach solid results over two months after the blast.

The leading human rights group said Lebanon’s investigation was flawed, beginning with the judges appointed to do the investigation. HRW blamed the probe’s failure on political meddling and the lack of a decent judicial system.

Nabil Ismail

“Political interference coupled with long-standing failings of the judicial system have made a credible and impartial domestic investigation seemingly impossible,” stated the human rights group.

In addition, the lack of independence and transparency in the domestic investigation has caused the public to lose faith in the Lebanese investigation, noted HRW. 

Many have called for an international investigation from the start, however, President Aoun strongly rejected it saying it would be a “waste of time” and that it will affect Lebanon’s sovereignty.

Almost three months after the blast, HRW is urging the United Nations to conduct an independent inquiry to determine what caused the blast. 

“Only an independent, international investigation will uncover the truth about the blast,” said Aya Majzoub, HRW’s Lebanon researcher.

“The International Support Group for Lebanon should not play along with the Lebanese authorities’ pretense that they are able to conduct their own credible investigation.”

Transparency and accountability are two things the domestic probe lacks, which is why there is no choice but to urge for an international investigation – which should have been the case since August 4th.

Earlier this month, a Lebanese investigative judge received the FBI’s report which reportedly led to no conclusion as to what caused the blast.

Lebanon is currently waiting for a report from French explosives experts, which is expected to be more detailed than the FBI’s. 

Until now, not a single minister nor politician has been charged or held responsible for the blast – only customs and port officials. 

“The responsibility for the Beirut explosion extends far beyond port and customs officials,’ said Majzoub.

“Any investigation that claims to be impartial would look into the corruption and mismanagement permeating the entire political system, which created the conditions that made the Beirut blast possible,” HRW insists.

Residents impacted by the blast have demanded that President Aoun, and everyone who knew about the dangerous material at the port, including consecutive prime ministers, be held responsible for causing the preventable tragedy.

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