In 1881, Thomas Edison constructed the first central power plant, in New York, and it paved the way for the development of the modern world. Within 30 years, a commercial plant opened in Lebanon, to power Beirut’s tramways but also to “produce electricity to light up Beirut and act as a prime mover for industrial employment in the city”.
The trials aren’t finished. Little justice has been delivered. But 12 years and $1 billion after it was tasked with prosecuting those responsible for the 2005 Beirut bombing that killed then Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) announced that it will close its doors by the end of this month. The reason? A lack of money. There may be good reasons for the STL to wrap things up. By not funding the STL to its conclusion, however, states risk undermining international justice efforts more broadly – which might cost them even more.