BEIRUT —Following a meeting Wednesday with a delegation of the families of the victims of the Aug. 4, 2020 Beirut port blast, Deputy Parliament Speaker Elias Bou Saab called for moving forward on judicial appointments necessary to restart the long-stalled probe into the explosion.
Here’s what we know:
• In a press conference, Bou Saab spoke out against "any political compromise" that could potentially be made to bury the investigation into the probe, led by Judge Tarek Bitar.
• "The investigation into the port [explosion] is on hold because the decree of appointments to the Court of Cassation is currently blocked for reasons related to sectarian balance,” Bou Saab also said. ”The decree must therefore be signed as soon as possible so that the file can move forward," he continued.
• Bitar’s investigation is suspended since the plenary assembly of the Court of Cassation in Lebanon’s judiciary has been unable to meet since January due to a lack of quorum after the retirement of six judges on the ten-member assembly without replacement.
• A decree to appoint new members to the assembly has not been signed by Finance Minister Youssef Khalil, who is close to the Amal Movement, because the minister reportedly believes it would not be in line with sectarian balancing between Christians and Muslims. A source close to judiciary had told L’Orient-Le Jour that this was the first time the assembly’s composition (of six Christian judges and five Muslim ones) has been challenged since the 1989 Taif Agreement that helped end the Lebanese Civil War.
• At the crux of the current appointment snaggle, the president of the Court of Cassation, a Christian, would be on the assembly alongside the five Christian and five Muslim judges heading the Court of Cassations individual chambers. L’Orient-Le Jour had reported that Khalil was seeking for the president of the Court of Cassation to also head one of the body’s chambers, in effect getting rid of the 6-5 balance for a 5-5 split.
• Bou Saab, who caucuses with the Free Patriotic Movement, appeared to agree with Khalil’s reported stance, calling on caretaker Justice Minister Henry Khoury to propose a new series of appointments that would divide the assembly evenly between five Christian and Muslim judges each.
• In April, President Michel Aoun, the founder of the FPM, said there were no “fundamental errors” with the appointments sent for signature to Khalil, and implicitly accused the Amal Movement and Hezbollah of being behind the obstruction.
BEIRUT —Following a meeting Wednesday with a delegation of the families of the victims of the Aug. 4, 2020 Beirut port blast, Deputy Parliament Speaker Elias Bou Saab called for moving forward on judicial appointments necessary to restart the long-stalled probe into the explosion. Here’s what we know:
• In a press conference, Bou Saab spoke out against "any political...