Judge Bitar breaks prevailing pattern, returns to investigation

News Bulletin Reports
2023-01-23 | 12:30
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Judge Bitar breaks prevailing pattern, returns to investigation
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3min
Judge Bitar breaks prevailing pattern, returns to investigation

Judge Tarek Bitar decided to break the prevailing pattern in justice and return to the Beirut blast’s investigations.

He agreed to release 5 out of 17 detainees, including the Syrian worker Ahmed Rajab, the contractor for works at the port; Salim Chebli, the port’s director of projects; Michel Nahoul, the former director general of customs, Shafik Merhi, and the former director of operations at the port, Sami Hussein. 

Bitar sent the decisions to the Registry of the Cassation Public Prosecution and decided to prosecute eight new people, including judges and security personnel, namely Major General Abbas Ibrahim and Major General Tony Saliba. 

And while the notifications have yet to reach the Public Prosecution Discriminatory office, which had closed its offices, LBCI learned that sessions had been set, starting in early February. If the security services refuse to inform the wanted persons of the investigation, they will be notified through another mechanism. 

With the decision to return, judge Bitar considered that his predecessor, Fadi Sawan, who was rejected in the port’s case, or Elias Eid, who responded in the case of the assassination of martyr Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and submitted. At the same time, he is not obligated to do so, according to legal texts. 

In his opinion, the judicial investigator does not respond because the Criminal Procedure Code amended in 2001, which spoke of the permissibility of the members of the Judicial Council, did not mention the permissibility of the judicial investigator being dismissed. In the absence of a text, nothing is binding. 

Additionally, Tarek Bitar considered that the status of the judicial investigator is personalized and is established for a specific crime. Therefore, his individualization means canceling the case itself and constitutes an encroachment from the judicial authority on the administrative authority because the judicial investigator is appointed by a decision issued by the Minister of Justice after the approval of the Supreme Judicial Council. 

As for his prosecution powers, Bitar has returned to an open confrontation with judges, politicians, and security forces. 

As for the administrators, Bitar considered that since the law granted him the same power as the Public Prosecutor of Cassation to hear any person as a defendant, he also has the same power to listen to any person without obtaining permission. 

However, the attention returns to the Palace of Justice and how the Public Prosecution Discriminatory deals with the releases, which will become clear on Tuesday morning.  

Bitar “embarrassed” the Public Prosecution Discriminatory office, which, if it agreed to the release, would have implicitly recognized his decision. If it refused, it would put it in a confrontation with the families of the detainees, noting that the judicial investigator wrote, during the months of his response, 540 pages of his indictment. There were no more than two hundred pages left before him. 

When he was asked why he waited so long to return to the investigation, he replied that after all ways were blocked, whether by the pending recusal claims, in the formations of the Court of Cassation’s general body, or by introducing laws that put an end to the effects of the recusal claims, it was necessary to discuss the matter to re-launch the investigations.
 

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