Government Gives Investigating Committee Four Days to Find Culprits


The government has given an "investigative committee" four days to determine responsibility for the devastating explosion in Beirut port on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe told French radio Thursday.

"This morning, a decision was taken to create an investigative committee which in four days maximum must provide a detailed report on responsibility -- how, who, what, where? There will be judicial decisions," he told Europe 1 radio.

"It is serious, and we take it seriously," Wehbe said.

"Those responsible for this horrible crime of negligence will be punished by a committee of judges," he added. 

The provisional death toll from the massive blast stood at 137 Thursday, but with dozens missing and 5,000 wounded, the number of victims was expected to rise as rescue workers continued to comb through the rubble.

The Beirut governor estimated up to 300,000 people may have been made temporarily homeless by the disaster, which he said would cost the debt-ridden country in excess of $3 billion.

On Wednesday, the government called for the house arrest of those responsible for the storage of a large quantity of ammonium nitrate, a substance used in fertilisers and explosives, in the port of the Lebanese capital. 

According to Lebanese officials, the explosion was caused by a fire igniting 2,750 tonnes of the substance in a portside warehouse.

"It is an accident... preliminary reports indicate it is mismanagement of explosive products. This is a very serious neglect that continued for six years,' said Wehbe.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab and President Michel Aoun have promised to put the culprits behind bars, but trust in institutions is low and few on the streets of the Lebanese capital hold out hope of an impartial inquiry.

Human Rights Watch on Thursday supported mounting calls for an international probe as the only credible option.

"An independent investigation with international experts is the best guarantee that victims of the explosion will get the justice they deserve," the watchdog said.

In France, prosecutors on Wednesday opened a probe into the blast over injuries inflicted on 24 French citizens.

Flights carrying medical aid, field hospitals, rescue experts and tracking dogs have been flying into Beirut airport since Wednesday.

And French President Emmanuel Macron was expected in Lebanon later Thursday, the highest-ranking foreign leader to visit since the tragedy.

Macron was due to meet Aoun and other political leaders as well as civil society representatives.

Comments 8
Thumb ___flamethrower___ 06 August 2020, 12:22

Best Iranian-FPM Foreign Minister, ever!

Default-user-icon Free Lebanon (Guest) 06 August 2020, 12:35

Customs director part of the committee, what a joke …. you need to all go to jail

Default-user-icon amazed (Guest) 06 August 2020, 13:14

you don't need 4 days or an investigative committee

its all of them
this government and the ones before it

criminal neglience and gross corruption

Thumb canadianleb 06 August 2020, 13:41

You need 4hrs not days, everybody knows who the culprits are!!

Thumb CODE.961 06 August 2020, 15:27

Those responsible for this horrible crime of negligence

علمت mtv أن أول تقرير  صدر عن مديرية أمن الدولة عن المواد المتفجرة في مرفأ بيروت جاء بتاريخ ١٠ كانون الأول ٢٠١٩، ورُفع الى رئيس الجمهورية والى الحكومة المستقيلة.
ثمّ صدر التقرير الثاني في ٤ حزيران ٢٠٢٠ وسُلّم الى رئيس الجمهورية والى رئيس الحكومة حسان دياب، والتقرير الثالث في ٢٠ تموز الماضي ورُفع مجدّداً الى الرئيس ميشال عون ودياب

Thumb CODE.961 06 August 2020, 15:28

The responsibility for the devastating explosion

Missing arturo 06 August 2020, 16:47

The investigation into the Hariri murder took 15 years. Four days will not result in a comprehensive investigation with accurate results. Maybe two months.

Thumb whyaskwhy 07 August 2020, 01:32

4 days means that they want the results to show the government and Kizb are not at fault otherwise they will politicize it.