BEIRUT — Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati Saturday renewed his call that Lebanese judicial authorities "act quickly against the excesses and aberrations" of some judges and "restore its proper course."
The call comes two days after the Higher Judicial Council asked Mikati and his caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi to "withdraw their decision" to interfere in the judiciary by stopping proceedings against Lebanese banks.
The statement issued by the Grand Serail Saturday echoed the call Mikati sent Wednesday to Mawlawi, who had in turn instructed security forces not to follow up on the decisions of the Mount Lebanon public prosecutor Judge Ghada Aoun, who had launched legal proceedings against several banks, accused of "money laundering."
"With all due respect to the HJC, it must uphold the law and justice for all, and stop the current excesses and aberrations," said Mikati. In his statement, he called on the judicial authorities "to act quickly" to this end and justified his decision of last week.
"Our aim is to put an end to a dangerous process of using justice and the law to settle personal political scores," the text adds. "It was never about protecting anyone, or covering up anyone's fault or violations," continued the Prime Minister, who said he had met with representatives of the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL) the previous evening.
Friday's ABL announced a week-long suspension of the strike the banks have observed since Feb. 6.
"Our goal is also to protect the banking sector so that it remains the main support for the economy, and not to protect any banker or bank that violates the laws," Mikati said.
"I call for the application of law to all," he continued. "Judges have a say in all cases, but the law is the law."
Judge Ghada Aoun, who has been multiplying proceedings against banking institutions for more than a year, recently filed charges against the Société Générale de Banque au Liban (SGBL) and its CEO Antoun Sehnaoui, as well as against Bank Audi, for "money laundering," after they failed to meet a deadline she had set last Friday to hand over required documents, as part of her investigation into many banking institutions.