Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Sunday lauded the latest decision by the Court of Cassation on the flurry of lawsuits and legal motions that had paralyzed the probe into the catastrophic Beirut port blast.
“The unanimous decision of the general commission of the Court of Cassation confirmed the rightfulness of the judicial investigation, restoring the Lebanese judiciary’s seriousness, prestige and unity, and reviving hope that the probe into the port crime can be continued away from politicization, sectarianization and interests,” al-Rahi added in a sermon.
The Court of Cassation on Thursday threw out two lawsuits submitted by ex-premier Hassan Diab and ex-interior minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq accusing Bitar of summoning them illegally. It ruled there was no evidence suggesting Bitar had committed any errors.
The same court also overturned two similar lawsuits filed by lawmakers Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zoaiter. Also on Thursday, the Criminal Court of Cassation rejected a lawsuit filed by ex-public works minister Youssef Fenianos that had demanded Bitar’s removal from the blast probe.
The court also said that it is the only authority eligible to look into recusal requests against Bitar, which prevents the accused ex-officials from filing motions with the Court of Appeals.
Turning to the suspension of Cabinet sessions, the patriarch lashed out at the “obstructors,” stressing that they have no right to “prevent Cabinet from convening.”
He wondered whether they are awaiting “further collapse, Lebanese lira downfall, hunger, poverty, emigration and deterioration of Lebanon’s ties with the Gulf countries.”
“It is unacceptable for Cabinet to remain absent or the hostage of this or that party while it is the authority concerned with rescuing Lebanon,” al-Rahi added.