Judge to question ministers on Beirut explosion

Former Lebanese parliamentary members Nohad Machnouk and Ghazi Zaiter were expected appear in court today for their maladministration which resulted

Beirut explosion ministers

Photo: Wael Hamzeh/EPA

Former Lebanese parliamentary members Nohad Machnouk and Ghazi Zaiter were expected appear in court today for their maladministration which resulted in the Beirut port explosion last year. The trial has been suspended until further notice.

Machnouk’s lawyer previously appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals to appoint a different judge for the case on the grounds of political bias. While the first appeal was rejected by the court, Lebanese civilians are worried that the actual culprits responsible for the explosion will not be convicted. Previous investigations into other Lebanese politicians have been blocked.

The defendants will likely avoid harsh punishments; however, they may be subjected to a temporary political ban. The is because of the defendants’ affiliation with Lebanon’s main Sunni opposition party—Future Movement rather than their negligence of political duties that resulted in the explosion. This will prompt discontent in Lebanon especially amongst Sunnis who will likely interpret the decision as the ruling Maronite party’s—Free Patriotic Party—attempt to further solidify their power at their expense. Therefore, expect nationwide protests to further increase. During the long-term, we could see an intervention by the International Court of Justice with the endeavor to justly convict the actual culprits.

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