Rahi: The political class controls part of the Lebanese judicial system

Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rahi on Sunday castigated the Lebanese judicial system, which he said is partly controlled by the political class and is therefore a tool used by statesmen to act against justice.

“There are growing suspicions surrounding Lebanon’s judicial activities,” Rahi said during Sunday’s mass sermon on the delayed investigation into the 2020 Beirut port explosion.

“Why has justice not yet ruled on the authority of the investigating judge to carry out his investigations”, he asked.

The Patriarch said Lebanon has never experienced such turmoil in the work of justice.

Last week, Rahi accused the authority of imposing selective and biased judicial measures and fabricating charges to postpone or cancel legislative elections scheduled for next May.

On Sunday, the patriarch again saw the elections as an opportunity for people to change their reality for the better.

“Successful legislative elections are the guarantee of successful presidential elections, and thus will come a president capable of leading the country out of its crisis,” he said.

Rahi then urged the government to introduce financial and economic reforms.

The patriarch said the clearest example of slow reforms is the Capital Controls Act, which politicians are trying to push through now that bank funds are empty.

“This law should have been passed at the start of the economic crisis in 2019 and not now,” Rahi said.

He said capital controls should be part of an integrated reform package, otherwise it becomes a bad decision that only hurts depositors and prevents them from transferring or withdrawing money.

Rahi warned that the capital control law should be changed to adapt to the reality of Lebanon, its free economy and the needs of the people, otherwise it will end up isolating Lebanon from the global financial system and inflicting a high price depositors, investors, importers, exporters, expatriates and all economic sectors.

James V. Hayes