BEIRUT — The families of the Beirut port blast victims marched from Mar Mikhael to the emigrant statue next to the port on Wednesday to commemorate the 21-month anniversary of the incident, according to social media reports. Protestors said in a statement that they demand the government approve judges necessary in order for the investigation into the blast to progress.
Here’s what we know:
“After four and a half months, or 132 days, the judge’s hands are still tied from following up with the investigation into the largest crime against humanity [the port explosion],” the families wrote in a statement. MPs and former ministers Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zeaiter, both of whom are being prosecuted as part of the investigation, filed complaints against Beirut port probe head, Judge Tarek Bitar, and Judge Naji Eid, who is responsible for examining an appeal brought against Bitar.
The complaints brought against Bitar have effectively stalled the probe into the blast.
The families of victims of the Aug. 4, 2020 Beirut port explosion accused Finance Minister Youssef Khalil once again of blocking the investigation into the blast by not signing a decree of judicial appointment. The decree that Khalil has so-far refrained from signing is a confessional distribution plan that appoints six of the 10 heads of chambers of the Court of Cassation, which make up the court’s plenary assembly.
This assembly is competent to rule on complaints filed against Beirut port probe head, Judges Bitar, and Eid.
“The Lebanese government must take the quick decision to approve the judicial formations immediately and put them to a vote on the cabinet’s table, otherwise our response will be very harsh,” the statement continued.
The families denounced Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zeaiter’s participation in the upcoming elections, as they are summoned for questioning in the Beirut port explosion probe.