Aoun Tells Judiciary Not to Fear Immunities, Urges Peaceful Aug. 4 Anniversary
President Michel Aoun on Tuesday called on the judiciary not to “fear immunities and protections” in the port blast case, as he said that the August 4 commemorations should not be “exploited” to “tamper with security and stability.”
“On August 4 last year, the face of Beirut and many hearts were torn apart and innocent lives were lost,” Aoun said in an address to the nation on the eve of the deadly catastrophe’s first anniversary.
He added that the scores of deaths could have been avoided had it not been for “the accumulation of negligence” and the inaction of several officials who “could have taken practical measures to eliminate the danger of the material that led to this disaster.”
“From the depth of my conscience, I tell our beloved capital Beirut that the truth will appear and that every guilty person will be penalized. Beirut, you will rise again,” the President went on to say.
Turning to the issue of investigations, Aoun said he supports “an honest and brave probe” and “fair trials.”
“Yes to a strong judiciary which does not retreat in the face of any influential person, no matter their position,” the President added, noting that the judiciary “should not fear immunities and protections” in order to “fulfill justice and hold those who caused this blast accountable.”
Referring to his recent statement that he is ready to appear before lead investigative judge Tarek al-Bitar, Aoun said that “when the head of the state puts himself at the disposal of the judiciary for his testimony to be heard, there remains no excuse for anyone to grant themselves any immunity or to hide behind any alibi, be it legal or political.”
The President also called for Wednesday’s commemorations to be “responsible,” adding that the anniversary should not be “exploited to tamper with security and stability.”