Bitar says won't step down, explains why he hasn't summoned army chief


The lead investigator into the Beirut port blast tragedy, Judge Tarek Bitar, has reportedly said that he will not step down, as Lebanon prepares to mark two years since the catastrophic explosion.

“No one will manage to get rid of me or push me to step down,” Bitar told his visitors, according to Nidaa al-Watan newspaper.

“They have used recusal lawsuits to prevent me from continuing, but most of them are selective and politicized. Had I done anything wrong, the judiciary would have removed me,” Bitar reportedly added.

“I have no political affiliation and I’m totally away from all of the state’s military and security agencies… I challenge anyone to stand and say that he is linked to me or an acquaintance. This doesn’t mean that all politicians and serviceman are bad, the same as not all judges are honest and upright, but in my character I don’t like having a relation with them. My home is only the judiciary,” Bitar went on to say.

Responding to those criticizing him for not summoning Army chief General Joseph Aoun for interrogation, the judge reminded that he has interrogated ex-army chief General Jean Qahwaji and said: “Why would I do that (summoning Aoun) after I verified that nothing condemns him and that he had not received any memo or letter regarding the issue.”

And hoping the decree of the appointments of the Court of Cassation will be passed, Bitar stressed that he is under the law and that he will not step down unless the judiciary decides to remove him within the legal framework.

Bitar was also quoted as saying that the investigation will pass through more difficult things.

Asked about the “price” he may be in light of his dangerous mission, Bitar said: “It might be hefty, but I’m ready for it.”

Comments 1
Thumb 01 August 2022, 19:31

A 1st class Waffler . He hasn’t summoned Michel Aoun either.