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Lebanon: Mikati Rejects Accusations of Interfering in Judiciary

Lebanon: Mikati Rejects Accusations of Interfering in Judiciary

Tuesday, 28 February, 2023 - 06:45
Lebanese PM Najib Mikati. AFP

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati reiterated that his calls on the outgoing Interior Minister to block judicial “violations” taken by FPM Judge Ghada Aoun against local banks are not considered an interference in the judiciary.

He emphasized that some decisions must be taken for the good of the country.

“We have already emphasized respect for the judiciary in our ministerial statement and emphasized non interference in its affairs, but some matters are strongly linked to Lebanon’s high interest and to the path of the judiciary which truly affects the course of justice,” said Mikati at the opening of Monday’s Cabinet meeting.

He said there would be no need for a similar decision “when the judiciary purifies itself from impurities and addresses exaggerations". He assured that it was discussed beforehand with the related judges.

He added that “exceptional circumstances require exceptional decisions”, noting that the move was not taken to protect anyone.

The decision was initially taken to protect the banking sector, “the major pillar of the country’s economy", he stated.

On Wednesday, Mikati and caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi moved to block the work of Judge Ghada Aoun, who has been investigating Lebanon's financial sector since it collapsed in 2019 following decades of corrupt government, profligate spending and financial mismanagement.

Mikati sent a letter to Mawlawi on Wednesday asking that security forces "not carry out decisions issued by" Aoun as they were "an overstepping of authority."

The banks have been on strike since Feb. 7, following a meeting to discuss the snowballing legal measures they have been facing since Lebanon's economy began to unravel more than three years ago.

Lebanon's banks suspended the strike for one week at the request of Mikati, the Association of the Banks of Lebanon announced on Friday, days after the prime minister moved against judge Aoun.

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