Lebanon News

Families of missing press Salam on files

File - Prime Minister Tammam Salam, center, heads a Cabinet session at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Friday, May 16, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Judicial authorities requested Friday that the Shura Council reconsider its decision to publish the results of a state investigation into missing people, drawing protests from civil activists.

Several NGOs condemned the judicial authority’s decision, in an open letter to Prime Minister Tammam Salam, saying that the “mere request of retrial is insulting to the missing persons and their families, who have suffered terribly for decades due to the failure of successive governments to underline the crucial importance of their rights to know.”

It also said that delay in publishing the files due to the request for a retrial was based on the judicial authorities’ view that the “implementation of the decision threatens civil peace.”

The NGOs called on Salam to order the Case Committee at the Justice Ministry to withdraw its request, urging the prime minister “to immediately implement the [original publication] decision along with adopting all the necessary measures to ensure the right of the families of the missing to know.”

On March 4, 2014, the Shura Council issued a landmark decision ordering the government to release the full results of the Official Commission of Inquiry’s investigation into the “Fate of the Kidnapped and Missing Persons in Lebanon.”

According to the letter, the original suit to release the files began after several groups petitioned the prime minister on April 29, 2009. Attorney Nizar Saghieh filed the suit on behalf of Wadad Halawani, representing the Committee of the Families of the Kidnapped and Disappeared in Lebanon in the case, and Ghazi Aad, representing the Support of Lebanese in Detention and Exile group.

The letter hailed the March 2014 decision as the “the first official acknowledgment of the right to know, allowing Lebanon to be in conformity with the international legal systems as well as international universal principles with respect to this matter.”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 10, 2014, on page 4.




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