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Sunday,27 November, 2022
President Aoun met a delegation of the European Integrity Forum in Lebanon:
President Aoun met a delegation of the European Integrity Forum in Lebanon:
01/10/2022

“Whoever restricts the judiciary may be harmed by its justice and has influence in order to reach the disruption of his power. I call on the judges to confront those who restrict justice in the Central Bank and in the port explosion investigations”.

 

President Aoun: “I wish the two conferences success in what is in the interest of Lebanon, especially with regard to the anti-corruption march that I launched”.

 

Arena: “The EU has issued a decision to impose punishment on people who stand in the way of achieving the right, whether BDL Governor Riad Salameh or any judge obstructing the investigations related to the port explosion”.

 

Ben Achour: “We support you in what you are doing in terms of fighting corruption and combating evasion of punishment. We, as European MPs, have a responsibility to stand by Lebanon in this regard”.

 

Ludovic Hay: “The independence of the judiciary is important because transparency is no longer just a duty but a moral obligation. We commend the march launched by President Aoun, which we must meet at the European level”.

 

President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, affirmed that whoever restricts the judiciary may be harmed by its justice, and he has influence to reach the disruption of a constitutional authority such as the judiciary.

The President’s words came while meeting a delegation of the European Integrity Forum in Lebanon.

During the meeting, Mrs. Maria Arena, Member of the European Parliament and Head of the Sub-Committee on Human Rights in the European Parliament, thanked President Aoun for receiving the delegation, considering that “What the President of the Republic is doing, especially in his fight against corruption, coincides with the delegation’s orientation and commitment to Lebanon, and in particular to the struggle side, in order to combat evasion of retribution and achieve justice, both of which lead to severe damage to the entire people”.

Arena also stressed that “The delegation is here with a network of people committed to combating evasion of justice and corruption”, revealing that “The European Union has issued a decision to impose punishment on a number of people who stand as an impenetrable dam in the way of achieving the right, whoever they are, whether the BDL Governor, Riad Salameh, or any judge who obstructs the path of justice or investigations related to the explosion of the port of Beirut, even if they sometimes have the right of residence in European countries, while they are at the origin of crimes committed in their countries”.

Arena also noted that “This matter constitutes a very clear European position”.

On the other hand, Arena pointed out that “The delegation will continue its work in this framework, while respecting the national sovereignty of countries, and in accordance with the principle of partnership with Lebanon. It will continue to do so, based on the recommendations that the forum will come up with, at the European level, where a new resolution is scheduled to be issued that will enter into force regarding sanctions. The perpetrators of serious human rights violations will include corruption crimes. Hence, Lebanon will fall within the framework of these new mechanisms. This is an action that we will continue at the European level as a whole to stop the phenomena of corruption”.

Then Mr. Malik Ben Achour, Member of Parliament in Belgium and President of the Parliamentary Assembly for the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, emphasized the importance of Lebanon’s position as a summary of the whole world.

“Unfortunately, the dangers that Lebanon is experiencing, in which corruption is wracked, are global risks. We seek to make double efforts to support you in what you are doing in terms of fighting corruption and combating evasion of punishment. We also bear a responsibility as European MPs to stand by Lebanon in this regard” Ben Achour said.

Afterwards, Mr. Ludovic Hay, a member of the French Senate and a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces in the Council, asserted “The importance of the independence of the judiciary, because transparency is no longer just a duty but a moral obligation on which societies must be built”.

Hay praised the Lebanese will to affirm this through the march launched by President Aoun, “Which we must meet at the European level in order to unite our common efforts”.

Finally, Mr. Elie Abi Saad reminded the President that “Before freedom, we must be liberated. We are following your path, and today we continue the struggle that you have pursued throughout your life, and we strive to achieve a positive impact for the benefit of the Lebanese society”.

For his part, the President welcomed the delegation, wishing the two conferences success in what is in the interest of Lebanon, especially with regard to the fight against corruption that he launched. President Aoun also presented to the audience the reality of the judiciary in Lebanon, recalling the launch of the public right lawsuit against the Governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh, and pointing to the judges’ sharing of evasion of responsibility without being duly charged.

In addition, the President presented to the delegation his numerous demands for the judiciary to face those who restrict justice as well in the investigations of the Beirut Port explosion, “As the souls of the victims and the wounded, in addition to the unjustly arrested and their families, are all still waiting for a glimmer of hope to come from the judiciary to achieve justice, two years after the explosion, and there is no one who has advanced in the investigations? In fact, the investigations are on hold as a result of the obstruction of influential people”.

The meeting was attended by Messrs’ Arena, Ben Achour, Hay and Abi Saad, each of: Joel Gueret, member and secretary of the French Senate and Vice-President of the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces Committee in the Council, and Fabien Molina, the defense lawyer for the "Sherpa" non-governmental association that combats serious financial crimes, which represents "The Gathering of Victims of Fraudulent and Criminal Practices in Lebanon", Emily Lefevre, defense lawyer for the "Sherpa" association, Stéphane Boniface, a French lawyer specializing in international files related to economic and financial crimes and the recovery of looted funds, and Sandrine Giroud, Vice President of the Geneva bar Association specialized in law and international asset recovery.​