President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, on Monday affirmed that “We all want reform, despite the obstacles in front of the course of events”, saying that the “Movement” came today to “Break a lot of reserves and remove a lot of red lines, and you will witness what satisfies you, and the Lebanese people, in the next stage”.
“We are not confronting the corrupt people in the Government or who were in it only, but the protection of a society for them because those who are affected do not complain, but only speak in salons. We cannot prosecute people for corruption without evidence, and we want the people to resist with us,” President Aoun said.
In addition, the President stressed the need to prosecute those who negatively promote national currency in accordance with the laws, pointing to the existence of some problems in the judicial laws, which lead to delay the course of lawsuits and must be amended.
President Aoun’s stances came during his meeting with the President of the Beirut Bar Association, Melhem Khalaf, who was accompanied by former Captains, and members of the retirement committee.
At the outset of the meeting, Captain Khalaf, delivered the following speech:
“On November 17, the General Assembly of the Bar Association took us to the responsibility and honor to serve it, and today we are in the traditional visit to your esteemed office. It is a matter of joy and pride, not coincidence, that the percentage of the Bar Association, which was founded in 1919 coincides with the percentage of the State of Greater Lebanon, which was announced in 1920. Indeed, it was the Bar Association that was the first tributary of the men of the state at the time. Today, I am delighted to be accompanied, along with the dear members of the Bar Association and the Committee of the Retirement Fund, by Captains who have been in charge for nearly 40 years. These are among the followers of the great men, the fathers of the profession, on whose sleeves the glory of the law is built in Lebanon.
Mr. President, we come to you today, while you are in your inclusive position as the custodian of all Lebanese, entrusted with the maintenance of the Constitution and the application of laws, the guarantor of the constitutional institutions. I am deeply impressed by the interest that the Lebanese people have shown in the Bar Associations elections, this year, and with the sincere sentiments expressed by the Lebanese people in general, and the younger generation in particular. Today, electoral competition is over and union brings us together.
Mr. President, my conviction is that the Bar is the crane of a homeland. It is the crane of a homeland, because it is keen to support the state, the state of law and regulations. It is the crane of a homeland, because it is also keen to regularize the work of constitutional institutions, the essence of democratic work and the secret of its existence.
It is the crane of a homeland since lawyers only adapt with the rule of law, and combine themselves with it.
It is the crane of a homeland, along with an independent, effective, impartial, scholarly, fair, anti-corruptive, and accountable judicial authority. In any case, the Bar Association is the natural avant-garde campaign for the independence and justice of the judiciary.
It is the crane of a homeland, because justice is not without lawyers.
It is the crane of a homeland, because it feels the pain of the people and knows their worries and cries.
It is the crane of a homeland, because it is the first defender of public freedoms and human rights, whatever the circumstances
It is a crane of a homeland, because it is the natural refuge for every oppressed.
Mr. President, the Lawyers Syndicate knows that Lebanon today, in the difficult circumstances imposed by the financial, economic and social crisis, needs an effective, rational, and salivary approach to keep up with the people who have peacefully emerged in all its categories, in all its ages, and in all regions, showing the strength of its faith, its solid will and its commitment to the homeland and to life. It is a people created by its history, and individuality, capable of changing the bitter reality, lying on the forehead and creating a process of renewal that does not stop or collapse. It is one of the greatest roles of the Bar Association to erase the distortions of hatred and distort on the face of this homeland, and to restore its true face, the face of love, tolerance and respect, the face of good and beauty, the face of freedom and joy.
Mr. President, maybe someone would ask: What can we do? and why?
I answer what Volney said more than two hundred and fifty years ago, who was amazed by the Lebanese peoples’ cultural and economic progress. Volney said: “How can we explain such prosperity in such a narrow land? After contemplation and reflection, I find no reason except the ray of freedom that shines there”. Mr. President, there is no fear of the freedom of this people, no fear of its rightful demands, no fear of its uprising, which comes from the womb of the wombs. And at all, there is no fear of renewed powers, today before tomorrow, to consolidate our democratic system.
The Bar Association is committed to the Constitution and constitutional institutions and its symbolism. Its first concern is to insert democracy into these institutions, starting with filling the vacuum within the procedural authority, in accordance with the constitutional mechanisms and demands of the people, the source of all powers.
Mr. President, the Bar Association has the will, determination, ability and courage to keep up with those concerned, at the right time and in the appropriate means, to fortify the homeland and protect the state in accordance with the hopes of the people. It is well aware of the accuracy of its role in being a crane of the homeland.
In turn, President Aoun responded by welcoming the President of the Bar Association and the accompanying delegation, pointing to the great appreciation he holds for the Association because “There is no judiciary in the absence of a lawyer who is the third pillar in justice after the Public Prosecution and the judiciary.”
“It is important that these three pillars are far from corruption, which has become a common disease in Lebanon,” the President added.
The President of the Republic said: “The movement has come today to break a lot of reserves and remove a lot of red lines, and you will see in the next stage what satisfies you and all the Lebanese”.
“We have made three appeals to those in charge of the Movement for dialogue, and to identify the demands accurately to help resolve things. The answer was that no one has the character to talk to us” President Aoun said.
The President added that “We are not only confronting corrupt people in the Government or those who were in power, because this is commonplace, but we are confronted with the protection of society for them, because those who are harmed do not complain but speak in salons. Can we prosecute people for corruption without evidence? No, we can’t. We want people to resist with us. Sometimes there are those who do not complain because they are benefitting from the situation, and there are some who share the benefit with the employee, through tax manipulation. This is an important kind of corruption. There is also legal corruption, such as when a piece of land is sold and registered with the notary more than once without paying the tax. For this I tell you objection alone is not enough”.
President Aoun then touched on the issue of freedoms in Lebanon and considered that it had reached anarchy. Noting that there are no journalists in prison because they are guaranteed freedom of expression.
“They are exposed to us on social media, and no one is exposed to them. But the freedom that we defended exceeded its limits, after insult became part of the freedom of the media, which is unacceptable. Lawyers can help control public morals”.
Regarding the current financial and economic crisis, the President pointed out that it has grown considerably as a result of accumulation of tens of years, explaining that he warned of the explosion on more than one occasion.
“I talked a lot about corruption, and the most important thing I mentioned, on this subject, was on the 14th of May this year, in a speech at the “Iftar” of Ramadan, in the presence of all state activities. I pointed out, at that time, that Lebanese rejection of taxes reflects mistrust in the state, and warned that the voice of the people will rise one day rejecting the fait accompli” President Aoun said.
The President saw that rumor defeats truth today, and pointed to the existence of a large number of laws which are not implemented, including what has been issued since 1943 related to bad promotion of the national currency, and those who do should be prosecuted.
President Aoun pointed out that there are some problems in judicial laws that lead to delaying the course of calls, and must be amended, such as the issue of submitting defenses more than six times, the delay in the holding of hearings, and the accumulation of cases.
“I hope that we will help together to correct our society from the diseases it suffers from,” the President concluded.
Source: National News Agency