While previous Lebanese governments have expressed their strong support for the U.N. Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the new government is expected to take a more equivocal stance in its ministerial policy statement. The committee in charge of drafting the statement has kept the language under tight wraps for the past two weeks, but our muckraking magicians here at The Qnion have managed to secure an advance copy of the Tribunal clause. Don’t forget where you saw it first!
“The Government of Lebanon, which is commited to seeking justice — here construed according to the Rawlsian acceptation of an impartial distribution system of social goods and opportunities — will spare no effort to cultivate the ideals of legality, transparency, and moral rectitude in all cases of crimes committed against Lebanese citizens, and, to this end, will deploy a broad-based array of strategies (such as statements of righteous indignation, 24-hour anonymous tip hotlines, municipal police investigations [pending budget constraints], and candlelight vigils) to ensure that the nation’s sacrifices will not have been in vain.
“As regards the U.N. Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), this government puts itself and its security services entirely at the disposal of the Special Prosecutor’s Office and will diligently respond to its every request, a responsibility clearly outlined in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1757. Furthermore, recalling that all United Nations resolutions carry the force of authoritative (if not binding) statements of international law with respect to their member-states, this government will — as a gesture of moral support for the sanctity of this most hallowed institution — make its compliance with UNSCR 1757 contingent upon the fulfillment of all heretofore neglected U.N. resolutions (with particular reference to U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 and U.N. Security Council Resolution 242).
“Failing the implementation of the aforementioned UN resolutions in a timely manner, the Lebanese goverment will, nevertheless, continue to honor its obligations to the international community by cooperating with the Special Tribunal on all matters with the exception of a few issues which will require, on a case-by-case basis, a standard internal consultative review process before they can be approved. These issues include: material evidence inquiries; arrest warrants; extradition requests; expert witness subpoenas; telecommunications data requests; immigration reports; administrative support (including but not limited to photocopying, translation services, word-processing, collating, stapling, envelope stuffing and courier services, coffee orders, late night Barbar runs, and taxi fares). Tribunal officials are kindly advised that the standard internal consultative review for each request requires 6-10 weeks for approval and is subject to an administrative processing fee, following which a decision may be appealed (subject to another 6-10 week review and processing fee). Requests not pertaining to the above list will be responded to promptly.”