The Presidency Press Office responded to statements of former Prime Ministers, saying:

“It is truly unfortunate that the President of the Republic is accused of the Port explosion, when he puts himself at the disposal of the judicial investigator for his testimony to be heard”.

“Justice is not compromised by any constitutional position if exercised by the competent authority. Lebanon has suffered and continues to suffer from sectarian red lines”.

“The President never took the initiative to agitate sectarian accounts, in the course of judicial prosecutions”.

“Dangerous talks in the statement of former Prime Ministers, about “Disguised justice” and “Politicized judiciary” is an insult and an unacceptable and disgraceful weakening of the judicial authority”.

“The timing of this statement is suspicious, while the President is exerting efforts to form a government to address the severe sufferings of the Lebanese people”.

“The Presidency of the Republic continues to address the deficiencies and the focused scrutiny in BDL accounts, and other state facilities, to determine losses and accountability”.

The Presidency Press Office issued the following statement:

“In response to the statement issued by former Prime Ministers, on August 26th, 2021, regarding judicial investigator, Judge Tarek Bitar, issuing a summon against caretaker Prime Minister, Dr. Hassan Diab, the Presidency Press Office states the following:

First: In terms of timing, form and content, it is really unfortunate that the aforementioned statement included the accusation of the President of the Republic of the issue of the catastrophic Beirut Port explosion, last August 4th, while the President had previously placed himself at the disposal of the judicial investigator, in the aforementioned crime to hear his testimony, if the investigator considered this issue as beneficial to the course of investigation.

Second: The privilege granted by Article 60 of the Constitution doesn’t mean that the President cannot be prosecuted and held accountable if his responsibility for any ordinary crime is proven, because this mandatory privilege, according to the constitutional text, is not an immunization which stops at the threshold of justice. This privilege is due to the fact that the President is, throughout his term, the Head of the State, the symbol of the nation’s unity and the one who swore the constitutional oath with fidelity to the constitution and the laws of the Lebanese nation, only to the heads of the constitutional authorities, ministers or representatives and that the text of Article 60 of the Constitution is fully consistent with the laws and texts in force. The drafting of Article 60 of the Constitution dates back to January 21, 1947, and the text was kept as it was after the amendments made to the Constitution as a result of the National Accord Document.

Third: Justice is not compromised by any constitutional position simply because it is exercised by the competent authority. Lebanon has suffered and continues to suffer from sectarian red lines with every accountability, and this phenomenon has recently exacerbated, as has happened with the former Prime Minister in their absolute solidarity with each other under the pretext of targeting and weakening the third constitutional position in the Lebanese Republic, while the President of the Republic never took the initiative to arouse sectarian feelings through judicial prosecutions.

Fourth: The Presidency of the Republic disavows and refrains from responding to the dangerous statements made in the aforementioned statement regarding “Disguised and selective justice, the politicized judiciary and the corridors of Baabda Palace, where the judicial investigation file is administered”. That is a public insult, an unacceptable weakness and shameful targeting of the judicial authority which some who pretend to be keen on the judiciary call for concern for its independence, transparency, integrity and freedom from political and sectarian restrictions. While these are concerned only with sabotage and demolition in the name of sects and religions. Justice remains the cornerstone.

Fifth: The timing remains suspicious, and the President is making strenuous efforts to form the awaited government of Lebanon to address the severe suffering under which the Lebanese people and residents are burdened, after the dangerous events which happened to the country.

The Presidency of the Republic places the statement of former Prime Ministers before the Lebanese public opinion, as well as the international public opinion which motivates the revival of authorities in Lebanon and liberates them from their families and narrow accounts or ambitions. The Presidency assures the Lebanese that it will continue to address all the deficiencies wherever they are, through the focused scrutiny in BDL accounts and other state facilities in preparation for determining losses, their distribution and accountability, as well as continuing strong and sincere efforts to form a government in preparation for the approval of international aid programs which suit Lebanon and address its severe plight.

It is truly unfortunate that a state entrenched with religions and sects, deprives the oppressed of the blessing of justice!”. -- Press office

Source: National News Agency