Holding banners that read, “Down with immunity” and “Charge them all,” groups of Lebanese demonstrated in front of Judge Fadi Sawan’s residence in Ashrafieh, to show solidarity after officials responded with stark non-compliance to indictments.
“No one is above the law,” the people protested. “It is our right to know who killed us,” their banners and tweets demanded, and “We want justice,” they said with a trending hashtag on Twitter to match (بدنا_العدالة#).
Last week, Judge Sawan charged outgoing Prime Minister Hassan Diab and three former ministers with negligence leading to the disaster that killed and injured innocents.
Diab received blind support from political and religious figures who condemned Sawan’s decision, calling it “unconstitutional” and an “attack on the position of premiership”.
Meanwhile, indicted former ministers Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zeaiter requested that the case be transferred to another judge, compelling Judge Sawan to suspend the probe for 10 days.
In a comment to MTV, the head of the Beirut Bar Association Melhem Khalaf said, “The port explosion investigation was proceeding with all seriousness, but it was obstructed in various ways and a “bypass step” was taken against the judiciary; the people in power will be tested today.”
Arguing against the flag of immunity raised by the politicians, the association of the Lebanese Judges insists that the constitutional immunity does not apply to this case.
And it certainly shouldn’t since the perpetrators of this horrible massacre are among those who have been in power for the past 6 years.
How would Lebanon ever get justice and the criminals get duly punished if the officials surround themselves with a stout shield in the name of immunity?
Ethically, morally, and judicially, what could ever justify an immunity over the brutal murder of over 200 innocent people, including children, the maiming of over a thousand, and the injuries of over six thousand people?
That all happened not in a time of war but in a time of peace.