Bombing amnesty

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The Independent Online
BEIRUT, Reuter - A Lebanon military court ruled that the 1983 bombing of the US embassy in Beirut and the killing of a French military attache in 1986 were covered by a general amnesty for war crimes, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

The leading daily an-Nahar said the tribunal ruled that the April 1983 bombing, which killed 63 people, was a political crime covered by a general amnesty for offences committed during the country's 15-year civil war.

Judicial authorities were not available for comment.

Parliament ratified the amnesty, part of a national reconciliation drive to end the 1975-90 civil war, in 1991.

Officials feared the country would fall apart if the alleged war criminals from different factions were put on trial.

An explosives-laden truck driven through the outer gate of the embassy, on west Beirut's Mediterranean seafront, wrecked the building. Sixteen Americans were among the dead.

An-Nahar gave the names of six people whom it said were accused of the bombing. They were never tried.

The court also ruled that the amnesty covers the killing of a French military attache in front of his embassy in the Lebanese capital in 1986.