Third anniversary of Beirut Port Explosion: Calls for justice and accountability intensify amid slow progress

BEIRUT — Today marks the 3rd anniversary of the devastating Beirut port explosion, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history which claimed the lives of over 200 people and injured thousands. Despite the scale of the tragedy, the investigation has been marred by judicial and political interventions, hindering progress towards justice and accountability.

The Association of Beirut Blast Victims’ Families has urged the Lebanese people to join a march titled “We Will Continue for Justice and Accountability Even Against Their Will” to express their dissatisfaction with the lack of progress. Commencing from the headquarters of the Beirut Fire Regiment in the Karantina area, the march will proceed to the Beirut port, serving as a poignant reminder of the need for accountability.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International have also joined the chorus, calling on member states of the UN Human Rights Council to rally behind the establishment of an independent and impartial international fact-finding mission. This move seeks to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the blast and uncover the truth behind the incident.

In a related development, the US Congress’s Senate Foreign Affairs Committee sent a letter signed by committee chairman Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) to US President Joe Biden. The letter expressed concern over the sluggish pace of accountability efforts, which have been tainted by intimidation and interference.

Moreover, Senator Risch criticized the unsatisfactory verdict issued in 2020 against members of Hezbollah in connection with the blast. He emphasized the need for imposing sanctions on members of Lebanon’s financial and political elite, spanning various political and sectarian groups, who engage in corruption and undermine the rule of law.