Statement by the Families of the Victims of the Beirut Port Massacre: We Stand United for Truth and Justice

2021-03-02    |   

Statement by the Families of the Victims of the Beirut Port Massacre:  We Stand United for Truth and Justice

Today, we who lost loved ones in the Beirut port massacre – we whom the ruling authorities, particularly those that knew and did nothing, have offered not the least apology or acknowledgment of responsibility – must address the public with the following:

1. What unites us is the pain of the great loss we suffered through the departure of the people dearest to our hearts. This pain has become our new identity, an identity stronger than any other. Hence, any attempt to pigeonhole us into sects and, ultimately, into existing political groups is a falsification of the truth, a falsification intended to sectarianize and politicize our movement and thereby undermine and disperse it within the game of political bargaining and bickering. Let it be clear to all: We take action today and in future out of loyalty to our loved ones – who were the most precious things we had and were sacrificed to serve the interests of one party or another – and not for the sake of any political or sectarian leader, however high his standing or position may be.


2. Our one and only objective, behind which we have all been united as a “sect” for the victims since our loved ones departed, is to reach truth and justice via an independent and impartial investigation. This objective is a right that we implore everyone to treat as an uncompromisable, nonnegotiable axiom and priority rather than merely a demand subject to cost-benefit calculations and vetoes to protect one party or another.


3. We are all monitoring the course of the investigations with grave concern and working to correct it. This you all witnessed in the movement that we unanimously launched seconds after Judicial Council Investigator Fadi Sawan was removed from the case and that only subsided when a competent, reputable investigator was appointed in his place less than 24 hours later. While we all hope that the Lebanese judiciary will manage to overcome the difficulties and achieve justice and truth in this major national case, thereby boosting justice in all cases, we do not hide that we are constantly gripped by serious concerns about the ability to do so amidst brazen political interference and immunities.


4. Some media outlets are trying to portray the demand made by some of us and not others for an international investigation as a divide within our ranks. In this regard, we would like to clarify three things:

  • The international investigation for which some are calling is a means to reach truth and justice, not an end in and of itself. Hence, any stance adopted by any of us in this regard concerns a means of reaching the end on which we in no way differ, an end that unites us today and will forever unite us until it is achieved.
  • The stance on this means is not principled or political. Rather, it reflects the extent of our current confidence in our own capabilities and the capabilities of the parties supporting us – including the Bar Association, rights organizations, and the public – to achieve our goal via the national judiciary. This confidence could become stronger, as we hope, or weaker, as we fear. Hence, the variation in our stances in this regard does not prevent us from working together to correct the course of the existing investigation. On the contrary, it maximizes our chances both domestically and internationally. Hence, we will all stand together before the national judiciary should our confidence in it be bolstered, and we will all be forced to resort to international investigation should the doors of domestic justice be fully closed on us.
  • Nothing reflects national sovereignty like the sovereignty of the courts and their ability to guarantee justice for everyone. However, this sovereignty is not a given. Rather, it is built through the power of the people’s trust in them. Hence, we call upon everyone devoted to national sovereignty to extend a hand to us to help build this justice.

Click here for the PDF version and the list of signers 

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Beirut port blast, Independence of the Judiciary, Judiciary, Lebanon, Rule of Law, Accountability and Corruption, Social Movements

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