Three years have passed since the catastrophic explosions rocked the port of Beirut, leaving in their wake a trail of devastation and heartache. Yet the families and loved ones of the victims are still grappling with the pursuit of justice in Lebanon. Despite the challenges, a glimmer of hope emerges from a strategic approach taken by the Beirut Bar Association’s office, which has managed to achieve progress towards truth and accountability.
The fateful twin explosions on August 4, 2020, claimed over 220 lives, injured more than 6,500 people, and scarred the city of Beirut. In memory of the victims, their families have rallied under the banner “For Justice and Accountability, We Persevere,” organizing commemorative events both in Lebanon and abroad to ensure that the cause remains alive.
These catastrophic explosions, triggered by a fire in a hangar housing tons of unsecured ammonium nitrate, prompted families to demand justice and the truth. The Beirut Bar Association’s prosecution office has been a beacon of support in this fight, representing victims and their representatives.
The pursuit of justice, however, has faced numerous obstacles within Lebanon’s legal and political landscape. The investigation, led by Judge Tarek Bitar, has been hindered by recusal motions and other legal challenges. Despite these hurdles, the office of the Beirut Bar Association has persistently pressed on, advocating for accountability.
Amid the local setbacks, the prosecution office has adopted an innovative strategy: pursuing civil actions on an international scale. They’ve sought to prosecute suspects involved in the case in foreign courts with international jurisdiction. This approach is based on factors such as the victims’ nationality, the location of corporate entities, and other connections.
One significant victory emerged from this strategy. A mysterious British company named Savaro Ltd., linked to the procurement and transport of ammonium nitrate, was successfully brought to justice in the UK. The Beirut Bar Association’s office, working in cooperation with other legal entities, filed a civil suit against Savaro Ltd., resulting in a ruling that held the company accountable and ordered compensation to victims and their families.
Despite the challenges and setbacks in Lebanon’s legal system, this victory abroad represents a step towards accountability. The pursuit of justice continues, even as the families of the victims hold onto their motto, resolute in their quest for answers and closure. As investigations unfold both domestically and internationally, the hope remains that truth and justice will ultimately prevail for the victims and their families.