The file of the investigation into the explosion of the port of Beirut has entered in a growing dimension, in the light of the positions offensive by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah two days ago against the judicial investigator, Tariq Al-Bitar, who considered “his work as a political goal and has nothing to do with justice”, and his ally “Amal Movement” headed by the head of the Council of Ministers. Representatives Nabih Berri, with his deputy in Parliament, former minister Ali Hassan Khalil, who was issued an arrest warrant yesterday in in absentia against him on charges of murder, abuse, arson and sabotage in the port attack crime, “that the investigation into the Beirut explosion is politicized and our options are open, including escalation in Street”.
In the wake of the veiled threats addressed by the Hezbollah Secretary General to Judge Bitar, questlast issued a warrant for his arrest in absent from the former Finance Minister, Ali Hassan Khalil, after preventing him from attending the interrogation session assigned to him.
Legal and political pressure
However, at the end of the session, Bitar was notified of the new response filed against him by the lawyers of Khalil and MP Ghazi Zuaiter, which made it necessary to suspend the investigation and the suspension of all the sessions, until the Civil Court of Cassation will not decide to accept or reject this case.
However, the repercussions of the case did not remain in the judicial sphere, but extended to the government, which yesterday, Wednesday, suspended its session, after the ministers of the Shiite duo, together with the “Marada Movement”, insisted on finding a solution the judicial investigator, in translation of Nasrallah’s appeals for the Council of Ministers to take the initiative against Bitar because he does not act according to the law, as he himself stated. , in a restoration of the scenario of the investigation into the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, when the ministers of the Shia duo and their allies resigned from the government of his son Saad Hariri.
Fly the principle of separation of powers
Yesterday it was decided to postpone to a later date the government session provided for by the agreement between the presidents of the republic, Michel Aoun, and the government, Najib Mikati, in waiting for the results of the political contacts that had been opened wide, what some considered a blow to the principle of separation of powers and the interference of political authority in the work of the judiciary.
Commenting on these developments, the former head of the State Advisory Council Judge Shukri Sader told Al-Arabiya.net: “What is happening is a bad and long series. If the Council of Ministers does not have the authority to interfere in the work of the judiciary, according to the principle of separation of powers”.
He also said: “It’s a precedent in Lebanon, where we have not witnessed the elaboration of a formula by the government or Judge Bitar in shameless and frank way! Do we want justice or the law of the jungle? Unfortunately, their actions confirm that they want jungle law and control over 4 million peaceful Lebanese. Having personally threatened Bitar, here they are today, openly threatening the judiciary, the families of the victims, the state and its institutions, and this cannot be accepted. “
Furthermore, he considered that “it is shameful that the government is thinking of removing Bitar from the port question, out of respect for the principle of separation of powers enshrined in the constitution”.
Legal exit ?!
As for the via “legal” exit from the current crisis, the head of the human rights organization “Justicia”, the lawyer professor Paul Morcos, told Al-Arabiya.net, “the possibility of referring the file to a parliamentary committee of inquiry to invoke the authority of the House of Representatives, which leads to a negative conflict of powers between the Parliament and the investigator. Justice”.
“The executive authority cannot interfere with the work of the judiciary, even if the referral to the Council of the Judiciary is ordered by decree of the Council of Ministers”, he continued. “Here the rule of parallelism of forms and formulas does not apply, meaning the authority cannot cancel the decree, and the intervention of the Minister of Justice at the Higher Council of the Judiciary even after his formation or his reconstitution of a post vacant in it remains a violation of the principle of the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers ”.
Waving on the street and using clans
Interestingly, the session was preceded by a campaign of threats launched by supporters of Hezbollah and the Amal movement on social media against Bitar, waving to use the road and repeating the scenario of May 7 in that Hezbollah and its allies have invaded Beirut and the Mountain if the forensic investigator is not “captured” by his position, which is the expression he used in precedence: the head of Hezbollah’s Liaison and Coordination Unit, Wafiq Safa, when he relayed a threatening message to the judge through a Lebanese journalist.
They also threatened to get out in street today, Thursday, and protest in front of the Beirut Palace of Justice against the judicial investigator.
What is notable in the context of the threat campaign are statements made by clans in the Bekaa region affiliated with the Shia duo, threatening Bitar and accusing him of pursuing foreign programs, in the party’s attempt to paint the existing conflict as a sectarian one.
The forensic investigator’s allegations
Perhaps the most relevant aspect of Hezbollah’s systematic campaign against the forensic investigator is the atmosphere it has circulated on the media local and foreign, which sums up his “discontent” with his actions and his citations to specific names rather than to others, which reflects, in his opinion, discretion in dealing, and if this indicates anything, it is a foreign conspiracy led by the United States. The US government aims to target him and settle scores with him before the next parliamentary elections.
May 7 judicial
In this context, the head of the Independence Movement, the deputy Michel Moawad, who resigned from Parliament, confirmed to Al Arabiya.net that “Hezbollah is carrying out the May 7 attack (the invasion of Beirut and the Mountain by Hezbollah and the Amal Movement) against the judicial investigator, using three weapons: sectarian mobilization and institutional disintegration and intimidation with weapons “.
He said: “Any government structure that forms under the roof of the Doha agreement (signed after the events of May 7) and gives the Shiite duo the right to veto key decisions in the Lebanese state, will lead Lebanon to further destruction and further destruction of the constitutional institutions ”.
Furthermore, he was amazed, “as each time we come close to knowing the truth about any security operation that would have intercepted Hezbollah, using the language of intimidation and threats to get off in Street”.
“Hezbollah threatens the people”
He asked: “Hezbollah threatens to go down in square. But against whom? Against the government it sponsors, the parliament that has the majority, or against its ally, the President of the Republic? “” The party threatens the constitutional institutions and the Lebanese people, “he stressed.
However, Moawad said: “The Lebanese people will not allow the investigation into the explosion in the port of Beirut to be stopped no matter how many threats there are, and we will stand by the families of the victims and not allow them to move on. Justice and responsibility”.
What is the position of Aoun and his movement ?!
In light of Hezbollah’s political escalation against the judicial investigator, questions are raised about the position of its political ally, the Free Patriotic Movement, which in on several occasions he expressed his support for Judge Tariq al-Bitar and his insistence on reaching the truth of what happened on August 4, 2020.
A member of the “strong Lebanon” bloc affiliated with the Free Patriotic Movement, MP Eddy Maalouf, has asked that the investigations take their course and that they do not stop at the question of parliamentary immunities. He believes that “as long as the President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, has previously announced his willingness to appear before the judicial investigator, it is not permissible to refrain from participating in the interrogation sessions”.
He also stressed: “The country cannot tolerate political escalation or the threat to go down in road “, asking to discuss the issues without sectarian tensions and threatening to use the road.
Furthermore, he stressed that “the government must not interfere in the work of the judiciary, and the principle of the separation of powers must be respected”, in reference to the suspension of the work of the Council of Ministers until one is found via policy to remove tension between Hezbollah and Judge Tariq al-Bitar. Maalouf considered that “presenting the government equation against Judge Tariq Al-Bitar is unacceptable, because forming a new government will not be a picnic”.
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