The Lebanese National Bloc Party released the following statement:
The decision by the Court of Cassation to dismiss the Judicial Investigator Fadi Sawan from the case comes after a series of events that started with the refusal of defendants to be questioned by the judge.
Further, many political actors voiced their objection to the charges he filed, mainly PM-designate Saad Hariri and Hezbollah, whose Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah declared a few days ago that the “investigation is over,” as if he has given the green light to the Court of Cassation to decide on transferring the case from judge Fadi Sawan to another judge, citing legitimate suspicion.
The Court’s decision was based on two grounds:
The first reason was a suspicion of breaching Article 40 of the Constitution and Article 79 of the Legal Profession Regulation Act.
The Constitution's Article 40 states that “No member of the Chamber may, during the sessions, be prosecuted (...) unless authorized by the Chamber.” The Legal Profession Regulation Act's Article 79 provides that “it is illegal to prosecute a lawyer before seeking the permission of the Bar Association head.”
But the Judicial Investigator declared that his decision to question the two defendants was taken in their capacity of former ministers and not as MPs and lawyers. Therefore, they do not enjoy immunity since the charges against them are not related to their positions in Parliament and law profession. Moreover, the interpretation of the Constitution's Article 40 regarding immunities (with different interpretations for this article) does not fall within the purview of the Criminal Court of Cassation when considering the suspicion. Similarly, this Court has no jurisdiction to discuss the grounds that the Judicial Investigator relied on to file charges against some of the names that appeared in the list he had sent to the Parliament, especially that the investigation was not closed yet...
The second reason was the declaration of the two defendants that the Judicial Investigator’s house was damaged by the Beirut explosion. This makes him personally affected by the blast and prevents him from investigating without an emotional and neutral bias.
However, neither the Judicial Investigator nor members of his family filed a personal lawsuit in the case that he is investigating, which denies any direct interest he or any family member may have. Hence, this reason falls short of the legitimate suspicion.
In short, the policy of controlling all the state’s institutions persists, in defiance of Lebanon’s Constitution, laws, and the separation of powers principle, and particularly the policy of bringing the judiciary to its knees by the decision of transferring the case from the Judicial Investigator Fadi Sawan to another investigator. This also happens after the refusal by the President of the Republic to sign the binding judicial appointments decree, because his powers in this area are “restricted” (according to judge Antoine Kheir).
As for the quick nomination of Judge Tarek Bitar to substitute Sawan, it is a clear evidence that this regime is totally disoriented and is underestimating, since the October 17 uprising, the consequences of its actions in the face of people's anger and intransigence.
What is certain is that the authorities will not cease their efforts, after nominating judge Bitar, to hide the truth and evade responsibility. In return, we will continue resisting these efforts until uncovering the truth and ending the internal occupation of this criminal regime.