Lebanese PM says he signed bill to lift immunity on Beirut blast suspects
While the PM emphasized the need to prosecute those responsible for last year's blast at the Port of Beirut, the bill still needs approval from Lebanon's fractious parliament
By News Desk - October 07 2021

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati. (Photo credit: AP/Bilal Hussein)

On 6 October, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced he had signed a bill to lift immunity on all lawmakers who might have played a role in last year’s catastrophic blast at the Port of Beirut.

However, parliament will first have to approve this bill before any official is stripped of their immunity.

The investigation into the deadly blast that killed more than 200 people has so far made no progress, a situation that has angered many, including relatives of the victims, who are infuriated that no senior officials have been held accountable after more than a year.

Over the past year, any attempts by the judges charged with the investigation to question officials – including the prime minister at the time of the blast and senior security officials suspected of negligence – have been stymied by powerful groups that alleged bias in the investigation.

But despite the ongoing smear campaign against prosecutors, Mikati underlined the need to “hold those accountable” for their involvement in the deadly blast, in an interview with Sky News Arabia.

He added that the Lebanese political class is responsible for the situation Lebanon has descended into.

While the Prime Minister took the time to validate the credibility of the selected judicial investigators, he also highlighted the  “difference between popular will and application of the constitution.”

He further indicated that plans were underway to reconstruct the port, the main lifeline for the country’s impaired economy.

Later in the interview, Mikati said that while there are hopes for negotiations between the Lebanese government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Lebanon must be committed to the implementation of a reform package that includes fighting corruption.

He added that the Central Bank of Lebanon has agreed to provide a government loan that would assist in the country’s electricity situation in the coming months.

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