The Beirut port explosion file sparks a “judicial war” in Lebanon
The Public Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation releases all the detainees and charges Ali Al-Bitar
Thursday – 4 Rajab 1444 AH – January 26, 2023 AD Issue No [
An archive image showing the massive damage caused by the Beirut port explosion in August 2020 (AP)-
Beirut: Youssef Diab--
The Lebanese judiciary is going through the worst stage in its history, as the conflict between its authorities has caused justice to rupture and perhaps disintegrate, and it has become difficult to restore the confidence of the Lebanese in it, due to the intensification of the ongoing war within the judicial system due to the investigation file of the Beirut Port explosion crime, between the judicial investigator, Judge Tariq Al-Bitar, who has become almost Alone in this battle, and between the discriminatory public prosecutor, Judge Ghassan Oweidat, who enjoys the absolute support of the judges and prosecutors in all public prosecution offices.
And not a few hours passed after Al-Bitar decided to resume his investigations and issue a list of new allegations, including the names of political, security and judicial officials, including Judge Oweidat, until the latter responded with a counterattack, so he made a sudden and unexpected decision, ordering the release of all 17 detainees in the port file, and instructed To the prison administrations where they are being held to release them immediately.
Oweidat was not satisfied with surrounding the judicial investigator, who has the exclusive authority to decide on the file of the detainees, so he followed that up by accusing him of the crime of usurpation of power, and summoned him to an investigation session to be held next Thursday, and sent a memorandum informing him of the need to appear before the Public Prosecution Court of Cassation, but Al-Bitar refused to receive this memorandum, and informed the officer Al-Adly, who was assigned the task of informing him that Aweidat is accused of the port crime, and he has no authority to charge him. The Public Prosecutor of Discrimination sent a letter to the Director General of Public Security, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, in which he stated, “We assign you to place a travel ban sign against Judge Tariq Fayez Al-Bitar, and to report as quickly as possible.”
The decision of the Public Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation, which freed the detainees of the port two and a half years after their arrest, came as a result of meetings held for long hours with his assistants in the Public Prosecution Office at the Court of Cassation and appellate attorneys, and stated in its content: “We are Ghassan Munif Oweidat, the Public Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation, since the judicial investigator, the judge Tariq Al-Bitar, whose hand is blind in the Beirut Port explosion case, considered himself empowered by the authority of the Public Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation to take whatever measures he deems appropriate, so he would have drawn his authority and powers from all judicial bodies, and since the matter also applies to the Cassation Public Prosecution, it applies to the original as well.
Oweidat added, “Since the palm of the judicial investigator’s hand keeps the file without a judge to consider requests for the release of those arrested for more than a year, and since it is based on Article 9 with its paragraphs 1 and 3 of the Special International Covenant that was approved in 1966 and entered into force in 1967, which ratified by Lebanon in 1972; Therefore, we decide to release all those arrested in the Beirut Port explosion case, without exception, to prevent them from traveling, and to put them at the disposal of the Judicial Council in the event of its convening, and to inform this decision to whomever is necessary.
Although the decision of the discriminatory public prosecutor took its way to implementation immediately, and the security services did not delay in releasing the detainees from the prisons under its authority, Al-Bitar declared his refusal to recognize Oweidat’s decision, and stressed that he is still “the judicial investigator who has his hand on this file and will not give it up.” Al-Bitar explained to Asharq Al-Awsat that “Judge Oweidat has recused himself from the file, and he has no authority to sue him, nor does he have the authority to release the detainees; Because this matter is the sole property of the judicial investigator.” He called for “non-implementation of the decisions of the Public Prosecutor at Cassation.” Al-Bitar also indicated that he is “continuing with his procedures and holding investigation sessions to interrogate the defendants on the specified dates.”
The Supreme Judicial Council is scheduled to hold a meeting today, chaired by Judge Suhail Abboud, to discuss the general situation of the judiciary, and the dispute sparked by Al-Bitar’s return to the investigation. Council agenda. The discriminatory public prosecutor did not rule out that “Al-Bitar will commit many legal violations in the coming days, including issuing an arrest warrant in absentia against him (Aweidat) and against his fellow judges.” He pointed out that “the appointment of a judicial investigator back in the past has become a thing of the past, and the Judicial Council will discuss the content of the book of the Minister of Justice, in which he asked to consider the legality of the measures taken by Al-Bitar in the past hours.”