Lead investigator Judge Tarek Bitar is set to issue new arrest warrants in the Beirut port blast case despite the recent judicial turmoil, according to media reports.
Judge Bitar has called in his clerk to prepare the warrants, which will be issued in two batches on February 6 and 8.
The warrants will be issued against former Prime Minister Hassan Diab, General Security Chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, State Security Head Maj. Gen. Tony Saliba, State Prosecutor Judge Ghassan Oueidat, and another judge if they fail to appear before him on the specified dates.
Judge Bitar is determined to guarantee the issuance of the warrants and is not entertaining any discussions regarding the case.
Bitar recently resumed his investigation into the Beirut port explosion after a 13-month hiatus. He has charged eight new suspects, including high-level security officials and Lebanon’s top prosecutor, Ghassan Oueidat.
The judge’s move has sparked a judicial battle with Oueidat who retaliated by charging the judge with “usurping power” and insubordination and imposed a travel ban as well as filing lawsuits against him.
Bitar has refused to step down and says that Oueidat has no authority to intervene in the case. Bitar’s decision to resume the investigation was based on a legal review that he conducted himself.