The Civil Court of Cassation rejected former ministers Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zaiter’s petition to replace Beirut Blast Investigative Judge Tarek Bitar Thursday.
The decision came an hour before a planned protest against Judge Bitar and the investigation from Hezbollah and Amal supported in front of the Justice Ministry. Heavy gunfire was heard and there are reports of two killed.
Khalil and Zaiter’s, both members of the Amal Movement founded by Speaker Nabih Berri, filed the petition Tuesday, hours after Judge Bitar issued an arrest warrant for Khalil. The latter failed to show up to his scheduled interrogation, sending his lawyer instead.
The petitions to stop Judge Bitar are numerous, and part of the tactics used by the ruling class to stop the investigation, and shield them from consequences, akin to the General Amnesty Law (No. 84.91) that passed after the end of the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990).
The law provided amnesty to all those who participated in the civil war that claimed between 90,000 and 150,000 lives, injured, injured hundreds of thousands, and led to the disappearance of up to one million people.