Seeking justice for their killed family members, serious injuries, and extensive property damage, at least 1,228 Lebanese families are in the process of filing a lawsuit against the Lebanese government, reported AFP.
They have all filed complaints against the state to the Beirut Bar Association, which is offering its services pro bono and assigning a lawyer to each case.
“We can’t stand by idly in the face of a tragic crime of this kind. We are not seeking revenge in any way. We only want justice,” said the head of the association Melhem Khalaf.
To help the Beirut Bar Association with this significant task, around 400 lawyers have volunteered their services, in addition to 250 legal aides and over 450 real estate appraisers who have helped measure the cost of material damages.
More than 80% of those filing complaints against the government are those with extensive material losses – people who have lost their lives savings.
Others consist of those who sustained serious injuries; and the fewest of complaints are by those who are grieving lost loved ones.
“We are pursuing legal action for us, the people who remain in this country and who want to live in it with dignity,” said Elie Hasrouty to AFP.
Elie lost his father, a port worker, in the blast. It took two weeks to recover his body from deep beneath the rubble near the silo.
Elie hopes the lawsuit will prevent things like this from happening again.
“We need to determine who is responsible, as well as all behavior that led to this situation so that the issue is addressed and proper measures are taken to deter similar conduct in the future,” he said.
Weeks after the blast, investigators haven’t yet determined the cause of the blast or who is directly responsible. Other than news here and there of some arrests, the public remains in the dark about the findings or results, if any, of the investigation so far.
To this day, no state official has been held accountable – despite the fact that many knew of the stockpiles of dangerous ammonium nitrate at the port.