BEIRUT: Participants in a roundtable discussing the fate of Lebanese who went missing during the 1975-1990 Civil War called over the weekend for the merging of all draft laws dealing with the issue of the missing and the disappeared.
Participants expressed fears that passing the legislation might be difficult due to the lack of seriousness displayed by some politicians. Speaking during the second and final day of discussions organized by the International Center for Transitional Justice Saturday at the Gefinor Rotana Hotel in Beirut, Metn MP Ghassan Moukhaiber called for merging draft laws so as not to “give the impression that the diversity of texts reflects confusion.”
The draft law (which has 31 articles) proposed by families of the victims calls for the establishment of an Institute for Missing Persons, including a Bureau and a Public National Commission among other things.
Another draft law on the same issue is currently being proposed by Baabda MP Hikmat Deeb and two similar proposals are being discussed within the government.
Even as he admitted the process might be time consuming, Moukhaiber endorsed the establishment of a single body to uncover the fate of 17,000 missing persons to keep efforts centralized.
Also speaking at the ICTJ event, the head of UMAM Documentation and Research association warned that passing the legislation might face difficulties as it opposes the interests of politicians.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 27, 2012, on page 3.