Judge Wants These Three Ministers Investigated Over Beirut’s Explosion

Reuters

The judge leading Lebanon’s probe into the disastrous Beirut port explosion wants three members of the cabinet investigated over their possible responsibility in the tragedy, a judicial source said on Tuesday.

The Beirut Port explosion of August 4th killed at least 200 lives and injured thousands, while dozens remain missing. Over 3 months later, all we know is that the blast was a result of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate carelessly stored by authorities in a port warehouse since 2014.

The New York Times

According to Naharnet, judge Fadi Sawwan asked the parliament in a letter to investigate public works and transportation minister Michel Najjar, finance minister Ghazi Wazni, and justice minister Marie-Claude Najm.

Sawwan also requested to look into the role of several former ministers who held the same positions in the previous three cabinets.

The letter to the legislative chamber came after Sawwan’s own investigations raised “certain suspicions about the responsibility of those ministers and their failure towards addressing the presence of the ammonium nitrate at the port,” the source said.

Eye On The East

Currently, the matter is being referred to the parliament as it is the only body considered as a specialized higher council able to prosecute ministers.

Right after the explosion, the Lebanese government resigned, opening up new political uncertainty. The country has been already struggling with a crippling economic crisis and now reeling from an enormous explosion that has vacuumed half of the capital. The government has remained in a caretaker capacity as talks drag on to form a new one.

In the past, Lebanese officials rejected an international intervention in the investigation, despite the public demands for a fair investigation.

Reuters

However, experts from France and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation took part in the preliminary investigation.

So far, 25 people have been arrested as part of the ongoing probe, including top port and customs officials.