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Lebanon: UN experts concerned at slow progress in investigation and continued impunity for killing of prominent intellectual Lokman Slim

02 February 2023

GENEVA (2 February 2023) – UN human rights experts* today reiterated their call for effective investigations into the killing of Lebanese intellectual Lokman Slim, expressing their deep concern at the lack of progress by the authorities to ensure accountability two years after his assassination.

“It is incumbent on the Lebanese authorities to fully investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators of this heinous crime. Failing to carry out a prompt and effective investigation, may in itself constitute a violation of the right to life,” the experts said.

“Shedding light on the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Lokman Slim and bringing those responsible to justice is also part of the State’s obligation to protect freedom of opinion and expression,” they said. “A culture of impunity not only emboldens the killers of Mr. Slim, it will also have a chilling effect on civil society as it sends a chilling message to other activists to self-censor,” they stressed.

Slim, a well-known intellectual, human rights defender, writer, publisher, filmmaker and vocal critic of Hezbollah, was found shot dead in his car on 4 February 2021, in Southern Lebanon, an area reportedly de facto controlled by Hezbollah. He was shot six times, including three times in the head. Prior to his death, he and his family had been subject to intimidation, harassment and threats.

“Two years following the killing of Mr. Slim, no one responsible for his assassination has been identified and there is little prospect that current investigations will be successfully completed within a reasonable timeframe,” the experts said.

They reiterated that investigations into unlawful killings must be independent, impartial, prompt, thorough, effective, credible and transparent, warning that any further delay may seriously comprise the current investigation and the search for truth and justice.

“Thus far, national authorities have shown no indication that the ongoing investigations are in line with relevant international standards,” the UN experts said.
“We therefore urge the Lebanese authorities to give much needed new impetus to the pending investigation to ensure that those responsible are held accountable without delay,” the experts said. “Mr. Slim’s family must have access to justice, truth and adequate reparation expeditiously.”

The UN experts recalled that the Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Unlawful Death was universally considered the gold standard for the investigation of cases of unlawful deaths. “We stand ready to support the relevant authorities in their efforts to ensure its full implementation in Mr Slim’s case and also call on the international community to provide support and assistance as appropriate,” they said.

The UN experts have previously raised their concerns with the Government of Lebanon and will continue to monitor the situation.


*The experts: Mr. Morris Tidball-BinzSpecial Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Ms. Margaret Satterthwaite, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyersMs. Irene Khan, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; and Ms. Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

The Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of any government or organisation and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page - Lebanon

For further information and media requests, please contact:

Alessandro Marra (+41 22 928 93 21/
[email protected]) or write to [email protected].

For media enquiries regarding other UN independent experts, please contact

Maya Derouaz
([email protected]) or

Dharisha Indraguptha
([email protected]).

Follow news related to the UN's independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

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