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UN tribunal for Lebanon may fold due to funding crisis

A UN-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri says it is facing a severe funding crisis and will not be able to operate beyond July without immediate assistance.

The announcement by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon comes as the country is in the grips of an unprecedented economic crisis — a culmination of decades of widespread corruption and mismanagement.

Although the tribunal’s verdict issued last August, 15 years after Hariri’s killing, was disappointing for many Lebanese, ending the tribunal’s work would raise concerns in the tiny country where political killings have gone without punishment for decades.

It comes at a time when some Lebanese are demanding an international investigation into the August 4, blast at Beirut’s port that killed 211, wounded more than 6,000 and damaged nearby neighborhoods.

Then Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Rafik Hariri leaves the Parliament building in Beirut, Lebanon April 17, 2003. (AP Photo)
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