Attacks on Justice 2005: Lebanon

Middle East and North Africa
Issue: Independence of Judges and Lawyers
Document Type: Publication
Date: 2008

Although the Constitution of Lebanon provides for an independent judiciary, in practice it is subject to political pressure.

The executive branch is seen to interfere in the appointment and transfer of judges. The government refuses to enforce judgments and orders of the courts not to its liking, which has resulted in the judges involved being penalized.

Unduly delayed disciplinary proceedings are also used to intimidate judges. There is no formal separation of powers between the office of prosecutor and members of the judiciary.

Prosecutors, who are unlikely to be independent of political influence, may be appointed as judges and vice versa, which has led some prosecutors to unlawfully assume judicial roles.

Corruption is widespread in general and remains an important problem within the judiciary. Although the term of office of the Constitutional Council, which oversees the constitutionality of laws, expired in 2003, no new members have been appointed to it.

The shortage of judges has caused an increasing backlog of cases. Lawyers are often threatened with disciplinary action. The limited availability of legal aid has impeded the availability of justice to all citizens.

Lebanon-Attacks on Justice 2005-Publications-2008 (full text, PDF)

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