Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi warned against the failure to resolve the dispute over the judicial appointments before June 5, reported As Safir newspaper on Saturday.
He told the daily: “The failure to resolve the matter will cripple the judiciary.”
He explained that the tenures of seven members of the Higher Judicial Council end on June 5, while General Prosecutor Judge Saeed Mirza’s tenure ends in June.
Only one member of the council would remain should the appointments dispute stay unresolved until those dates, cautioned Qortbawi.
Speaker Nabih Berri had questioned the lax approach in handling this file, noting a mechanism to approve the appointments is available therefore making the delay unjustified.
A dispute had erupted between President Michel Suleiman and the head of the Free Patriotic Movement MP Michel Aoun over the judicial appointments with the former insisting on the appointment of Judge Alice Shabtini at the head of the Higher Judicial Council, while the latter is insisting on the appointment of Judge Tannous Meshleb.
“Why haven’t the vacant seats been filled ten months after the formation of the cabinet?” Berri wondered in remarks to As Safir on Friday.
“It seems that those who can’t make an appointment in ten days, won’t be able to do so in ten months although there is a mechanism in place allowing the most competent (person) in each sect to reach the post that he deserves,” the speaker said.
“Had I been justice minister, I would have quit,” he said, adding “had I been a lawyer in practice, I would have called for an open-ended strike because the situation is no longer acceptable.”
The heads of the Beirut and Tripoli Bar Associations respectively Nuhad Jabr and Bassam al-Dayeh have announced that lawyers would hold a one-day strike on Monday to protest the failure to appoint a new head for the HJC.
According to al-Liwaa daily, Judges Jean Fahed, Antoine Daher, and Tanios Issa al-Khoury are the candidates for the post.
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