Families of the victims of the Beirut port blast gathered on Thursday in front of the Justice Palace after some judges called on the Higher Judicial Council to meet and discuss the ongoing investigation.
The families believe they are attempting to remove Judge Tarek Bitar from the case, despite garnering popular support for pushing through the investigation despite the attempts for sabotage.
If Judge Tarek Bitar is removed, it is believed that he will be replaced by Saramanda Nassar, and “all attempts for justice are gone.”
On Wednesday, judges Habib Mezher, Dany Chebli, Mireille Haddad, and Elias Richa announced that they had decided to invite the Higher Judicial Council to convene on Thursday to discuss the requirements of the judicial probe into the case.
10 of the victims’ relatives were summoned for questioning after Wednesday’s protests.
This occurred just a few days after the judiciary ended a lengthy strike, adding to the frustration of the victims’ families.
The investigation has been blocked for months by Lebanon’s political groups. It aims to uncover responsibility for the blast that killed 244 people and caused billions in damage. Many blame the tragedy on government corruption.
A spokesman for the families, William Noun, threatened that the protests won’t be peaceful if the Higher Judicial Council convenes and if its decisions are not in favor of the families and the victims.
He emphasized that the families and the victims have been waiting for answers and justice for far too long and will not accept any further delays or obstruction in the investigation.
In attendance at the protest were Kataeb MPs Sami Gemayel and Elias Hankash, Change MPs Firas Hamdan and Waddah al-Sadek, and independent MP Michel Douaihy.