On Thursday, the Higher Judicial Council (HJC) called on caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi to "withdraw their decisions" ordering security forces not to follow up with the proceedings of Ghada Aoun, Prosecutor General at the Court of Cassation of Mount Lebanon. Aoun launched legal proceedings against several Lebanese banks.
In a statement issued after a meeting held Thursday, the HJC called "on the Prime Minister and the caretaker Minister of Interior to reverse their decisions," invoking the principles of separation of powers and independence of justice.
The decisions made by Mawlawi and Mikati "undermine these two principles," the HJC said. The body "ensures to provide the conditions for the proper organization of the work of justice and its proper conduct, in accordance with the law in force, the public interest and the supreme interest of the state," the statement continued.
Judge Ghada Aoun, who has been multiplying proceedings against banking institutions for at least a year, has recently initiated proceedings against the Société générale de banque au Liban (SGBL) and its CEO Antoun Sehnaoui, as well as against Bank Audi for "money laundering."
This happened after they failed to comply with a deadline to hand over requested documents last Friday, part of Aoun's investigation on many banking institutions in the country.
Aoun had previously warned that she would prosecute any bank that refused to provide her with the account statements of its chairman and board members, as well as those of its auditors and supervisory committees. On Tuesday, the prosecutor sealed the premises of Bank of Beirut's data center in Mansourieh in Metn.
After Bank Audi suffered the same fate on February 13, Aoun decided to confiscate the movable and immovable property of SGBL and Mr. Sehnaoui. SGBL refuted the accusations and called on the Cassation Prosecutor's Office and the Superior Council of Magistracy (CSM) to "put an end to the violations of Judge Aoun, who is destroying the image of justice and is now threatening the national stability."