Three senior Lebanese female judges have resigned over interference by politicians in the work of the judiciary, including the Beirut Blast Investigation.
In a country where political leaders undermine the legal system and determine judicial appointments based on their loyalty rather than effectiveness, there is little room for the judiciary to properly work, especially when it comes to Lebanon’s ruling class.
According to a Council spokesperson, the resignations have not yet been accepted by the judicial Council because these judges are “exceptional members of the judiciary.”
The resignations came after officials filed dozens of lawsuits against Judge Tarek Bitar as well as against other judges processing requests by lawmakers demanding his removal.
Among those who filed their resignation is Judge Jeanette Hanna, who has turned down a request by an official to remove the investigator.
Judge Hanna was then targeted with a lawsuit seeking her removal from the case and was consequently hit with a review questioning the validity of her decision.
In a statement to a media source, Judge Rola Hussein, who quit as head of Beirut’s Criminal Court of Appeal, said: “This is a wake-up call about everything that is going wrong: the living conditions, the political intervention – basically the country is falling apart.”
Judge Carla Kassis, who has stepped down from the Court of Cassation, was also one of the three judges who forwarded their resignations.
While it is the most prominent, the Beirut blast case is not the only one to fall to interference by political leaders.
A probe into charges of tax evasion and illicit enrichment brought against the governor of Lebanon’s Central Bank, Riad Salameh, has also been paused due to a lawsuit filed against the lead investigator, Judge Jean Tannous.