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Following years of abuse and judicial misconduct, Ghada Aoun, the Public Prosecutor at the Mount Lebanon Court of Appeal, was finally scheduled to appear before the Judicial Disciplinary Council on Monday at 3 PM. Since her dismissal in May 2023, Aoun has repeatedly refused to comply with summonses from this judicial body.

Ghada Aoun has consistently disregarded multiple judicial proceedings initiated against her by her superiors, leveraging the political protection of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), which she was confident placed her above the law.

Today, more than three months after Judge Jamal Hajjar’s interim appointment as Acting Public Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation, it is time for Ghada Aoun to comply with the procedures she once sneered. In fact, the head of the public prosecutor’s office has instructed the judicial police (including State Security, General Security, Internal Security Forces, and Customs) to disregard Aoun’s instructions. This move effectively removes her from all cases she was handling — illegally — since she has been dismissed from her position.

Given the circumstances, it is important to go back on the misconduct of the notorious prosecutor who, while claiming to fight corruption, launched a full-blown witch hunt against the opponents of the FPM, thereby practicing a selective and twisted form of justice, trampling upon its most fundamental principles.

In 2019, following the October popular uprising against the Lebanese ruling class, Ghada Aoun embarked on a path that primarily served the interests of the Aounist party, especially its leader, Gebran Bassil. She launched an all-out campaign against politicians, security chiefs, the Lebanese Central Bank (BDL) governor, and bankers, with the sole aim of directing the anger of the Lebanese people toward specific targets.

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, along with his son Maher and nephew Azmi (Taha Mikati’s son, brother of the Prime Minister), were Ghada Aoun’s initial targets. They faced allegations of illicit enrichment through subsidized housing loans from the Banque de l’Habitat. The Prime Minister’s camp has vehemently denied these accusations, claiming to be the victims of a smear campaign.

In 2020, Aoun picked two new targets: General Imad Osman, the Director General of the Internal Security Forces (ISF), and Brigadier General Hussein Saleh. They were singled out for alleged misconduct in their duties, which, according to her, impeded the progress of the investigation into the “subsidized dollars” case.

In 2021, the magistrate continued her investigation into several individuals and businesses, notably targeting the Mecattaf company for its involvement in fund transfers as well as its CEO, Michel Mecattaf. The latter tragically passed away on March 18, 2022, from a heart attack following unproven allegations of money laundering. Aoun failed miserably in proving these accusations, despite repeated promises to “uncover the truth.”

Ghada Aoun publicly accused Michel Mecattaf on social media, passing an arbitrary verdict that found him guilty. She conducted several unauthorized raids on the premises of his internationally renowned company, which consistently operated in accordance with local and international monetary regulations, earning the trust of its international partners. She then surprisingly handed out the seized documents and computers of the company to a nun with supposedly close ties to the Syrian regime and whom the notorious judge highly trusted.

In 2022, Ghada Aoun targeted Riad Salame, then Governor of the Centra Bank, along with four former vice governors, holding them accountable for the country’s deepening financial crisis. Through social media, she unleashed a barrage of accusations against them, all lacking concrete evidence. Ghada Aoun’s peculiar logic dictates that individuals are deemed guilty until proven innocent — a stance that conveniently serves the interests of her supporters.

Finally, she filed complaints against the former director of the Ministry of Finance, Alain Bifani, BDL employees, and the international consulting firm Deloitte, which had audited the BDL in 2018. Aoun conducted a search of the governor’s villa in Rabieh, north of Beirut, escorted by a patrol from the State Security Service, led by Tony Saliba, who is also close to the FPM.

These relentless maneuvers against the BDL and its governor were mainly driven by the FPM’s aim to deflect attention from the disastrous governance of the country during the mandate of the party’s founder, former President Michel Aoun.

The FPM, which was politically dominant within successive governments during Michel Aoun’s tumultuous term, sought to put the blame for Lebanon’s economic and financial woes solely on Riad Salame. Additionally, they aimed to exert control over the banking sector through figures close to the Aounist camp. This agenda required a judicial front, for which Ghada Aoun was more than ready. At no point did she consider directing her anti-corruption investigation towards the ministries that were draining billions from the central bank without providing the services they were responsible for.

When Judge Aoun Escapes Justice

Repeatedly brought before the Judicial Disciplinary Council, Aoun adamantly refused to yield to her superiors as her transgressions kept piling up. These include her meetings with businessman Omar Harfoush and her suspicious dealings with French lawyer William Bourdon, who has been involved in complaints against Riad Salame through his association, Sherpa. She did not hesitate to spread inaccurate information and defamatory messages on social media, targeting her “opponents,” notably former Prosecutor of the Republic, Ghassan Oueidate. Through her acts, Ghada Aoun was flagrantly seeking to undermine the judicial system.

Always finding ways to evade notification of the proceedings brought against her, Aoun was stripped, in 2023, by Prosecutor Oueidate, of all the financial files she had been jealously following.

Subsequently, she was ousted from the judiciary by the Disciplinary Council for abuses of power and defiance of judicial procedural rules. Despite these disciplinary actions, Ghada Aoun is adamant on doing things her way.

Today, the new Prosecutor, Jamal Hajjar, signs Aoun’s dismissal. Will he succeed in addressing her long-standing judicial transgressions and violations of the law?