The Rivalry Between Judges Ghada Aoun And Ghassan Oueidat, Explained

The Rivalry Between Judges Ghada Aoun and Ghassan Oueidat, Explained
El-Qarar | LBCI

Mount Lebanon Public Prosecutor Judge Ghada Aoun created a judicial storm with her persistent challenge of a decision issued by State Prosecutor Judge Ghassan Oueidat last week. However, this is not the first time these two judges’ gavels have clashed.

Previous Encounters

In 2019, a chain of controversial events involving Judge Ghada Aoun and Judge Ghassan Oueidat arrested the attention of the media and public opinion.

It started when Judge Aoun charged former Prime Minister Najib Mikati with illegitimate gains for allegedly obtaining subsidized housing loans that are meant to only be given to people who can’t afford to pay for houses.

Around a week after her move against Mikati, Judge Aoun found herself under disciplinary action by the State Prosecutor who issued a circular, instructing security institutions to stop referring cases to Judge Aoun altogether.

And, just like in the recent Mecattaf case, Judge Aoun was referred to judicial inspection. “They don’t want me to complete [the investigations]. They want the thefts to continue,” she stated in response to Oueidat‘s circular at the time.

She said Oueidat had been “eagerly waiting” for the chance to press charges against her for taking the initiative to pursue corruption cases, claiming that the aforementioned circular was the outcome of political influence on the judiciary.

Judge Oueidat, on the other hand, indicated that Judge Aoun had broken several rules in her case against Mikati, including suing a delegate before consulting the appeal prosecutor and violating “legal and ethical rules.”

A Prosecutor Investigated

Fast forward around 5 months, Judge Aoun announced her resignation, citing “unfair” judicial formations that she described as “retaliatory” and “vengeful.” (She was going to be transferred from her position as Mount Lebanon Public Prosecutor to a different position.)

She claimed that she had been “overthrown” because of her decisions to combat corruption.

She ended up retaining her position, but she would go on to have another judicial face-off with Judge Oueidat a few months later.

In June 2020, Judge Oueidat summoned Judge Aoun for questioning over statements that were deemed offensive to the High Judicial Council, as well as for lawsuits filed against her, the most notable of which were two slander and defamation lawsuits from MP Hadi Hobeich.

MP Hobeich and Judge Aoun had recently gone head-to-head over a case involving the director-general of the Traffic and Vehicles Management Authority, whom she had detained in late 2019 for investigation over allegations of bribery, illicit enrichment, forgery, and breaching job duties.

Sources close to Judge Aoun were quoted by Al-Anbaa newspaper at the time as saying that the insistence to investigate the Judge was in the framework of “political targeting.”

The next major dispute between Judge Aoun and Judge Oueidat happened last week when the latter relieved her of cases of financial crimes, including the now-infamous Mecattaf case — a decision that was met with noncompliance by Judge Aoun.

Judge Aoun‘s apparent disregard for Judge Oueidat‘s decision had her referred to the Judicial Inspection Board, before which she appeared on Friday to reportedly face 23 complaints against her.

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