Officials saw risk of Beirut blast, did not act - HRW

HRW called on Tuesday (August 3) for a United Nations investigation into the explosion, which was caused by the chemicals stored unsafely at the port for years and killed more than 200 people, injured thousands and destroyed swathes of Lebanon's capital.

The report by the international rights watchdog contained over 700 pages of findings and documents. Its investigation also concluded there was evidence that multiple Lebanese authorities were criminally negligent under Lebanese law.

HRW said President Michel Aoun, caretaker prime minister Hassan Diab, director general of state security Tony Saliba and other former ministers wanted for questioning by judge Bitar, had failed to take action to protect the general public despite having been informed of the risks.

Reuters sought comment on the report's findings from Aoun, Diab and Saliba.

The presidential palace offered no comment. Saliba said his agency did all it could within its legal remit. There was no immediate response from Diab. Aoun said on Friday (July 30) he was ready to testify and that no one was above the law.

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