Beirut Reportedly Shirking STL Obligations

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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Aug. 22 (UPI) — Beirut hasn’t paid its share to fund a special tribunal probing the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a tribunal registrar said.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati pledged to help finance the workings of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon but hasn’t come through on that promise, al-Arabiya reports.

“We are talking about the 2011 budget and until this moment Lebanon has not paid its share,” acting tribunal registrar Herman von Hebel was quoted as saying.

Beirut could be subject to sanctions because of U.N. Security Council resolutions obligating Beirut to pay 49 percent of the tribunal’s work, which amounts to around $32 million for the 2011 budget.

Al-Arabiya notes that’s more than the budget for Lebanon’s Ministry of Justice.

The tribunal said it was working with foreign donors to help cover its additional costs.

The tribunal last week published detailed accounts of the four suspects wanted for the 2005 assassination of Hariri, who died with 21 others in a bombing in Beirut. The suspects are tied to Hezbollah, which claims the tribunal is part of an Israeli ploy targeting the organization.

Mikati was ushered into power after Hezbollah, in January, helped bring down the government of Rafik Hariri, the slain prime minister’s son.

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