Three Lebanese judges have resigned as a result of political intervention in the work of the court, which has included an inquiry into the Beirut bombing last year, according to a judicial source on Thursday.
Political authorities dictate judicial nominations in Lebanon, especially those to the highest courts, leaving limited opportunity for the judiciary to operate against the country’s governing class. The scope of such meddling has been shown by the investigation into last year’s huge port explosion, which saw senior authorities launch a complicated web of judicial challenges in an attempt to hinder the work of chief investigator Tarek Bitar.
According to a judicial source, three judges, all of whom are female, submitted their resignations on Wednesday “in protest at political intervention in the functioning of the judiciary and the undermining of judgments made by judges and courts,” according to the source. According to the source, the resignations have not yet been approved by the head of the country’s highest court, who has requested that the topic be considered at a meeting.
The resignations occurred after authorities filed hundreds of cases against Bitar, as well as against other judges who were hearing demands from legislators to have him removed from his position. One of those who quit this week was a judge who turned down a plea by a government official to have the investigator removed from his position. Consequently, she was subjected to an administrative review that called into doubt the propriety of her judgement.
According to international news agency, “The frequent questioning of the judiciary’s rulings is ruining its image.” Despite the fact that, it is the most well-known, the Beirut bombing case is not the only one to have been compromised by political influence. It has also been decided to suspend an investigation into allegations of tax evasion and illegal enrichment made against central bank president Riad Salameh due to a lawsuit filed against main investigator Jean Tannous.
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