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What can we expect after 5 Hezbollah members were charged with murder of UN peacekeeper? | 1-6-2023

“This decision does not necessarily have a political impact inside Lebanon, it rather has an impact on Lebanon’s reputation abroad,” lawyer Paul Morcos told L’Orient Today.

UNIFIL peacekeepers attend the repatriation ceremony of Irish soldier Sean Rooney who was killed during a UN patrol at Beirut’s international airport on Dec. 18, 2022. (Credit: Anwar Amro/AFP)

BEIRUT — On Thursday, military investigative judge Fadi Sawan indicted five Hezbollah members with the killing of an Irish peacekeeper in December. What should we expect next?

L’Orient Today asks Paul Morcos, lawyer and director of JUSTICIA Foundation.

Has a Lebanese court ever charged Hezbollah members in the past?

As far as I know, no. This is a bold decision. And if it is true that those who were charged have partisans leanings or certain political affiliations, it shows that the judge, technically, was not hesitant upon taking such a decision and did not take the decision based on his own political affiliations.

What is the political impact of such a decision?

This decision does not necessarily have a political impact inside Lebanon. It rather has an impact on Lebanon’s reputation abroad, by showing and not proving, yet, that Lebanon is abiding by non-politicized decisions, as this decision did not take into consideration any political affiliations. This is, of course, if the decision was rendered against Hezbollah members.

What should we expect now following this indictment, bearing in mind that only one of the five accused is detained while the rest remain fugitives?

It is too early to predict, considering that only an indictment by the investigative judge was issued. The moral from such a move will be from the type of ruling that will be issued [on those charged], because the military court usually does not follow the principles of a fair trial. This is because, among other reasons, it is not composed of civil judges, but rather of military officers, who are not even required to have a law degree.

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