In a letter to the U.N. Security Council, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres relayed a message he received from the STL‘s president, Judge Ivana HrdliČková, that the Tribunal cannot finish its work by February 28th – the end date of its current mandate.
Guterres said Judge HrdliČková asked for a two-year extension of the STL‘s mandate in order to “significantly advance its work toward completion.”
Consequently, the UNSC cleared the way for the STL to remain funded and continue investigating the case for at least this year.
The STL had delivered its verdict on the killing of late PM Hariri back in August when it charged Hezbollah operative Salim Ayyash with several counts of intentional homicide.
It’s worth noting that Lebanon, which is hit by the worst economic crisis in its history, is mandated to pay 49% of the Tribunal’s costs.
The other half of the funding comes from voluntary donations. However, AP reported that Guterres said he launched an urgent appeal to all U.N. member states in December to support the STL but failed to generate any new contributions.
Guterres now intends to request funding from the U.N. General Assembly to avoid the closure of the Tribunal, which he indicated cannot continue beyond the first quarter of the current year without additional funding.