Event Reports

Judicial Independence in Lebanon

On March 27 the Lebanese Forces Party in collaboration with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) and the Middle Eastern Institute for Research and Strategic Studies (MEIRSS) hosted a closed round table on the topic “Judicial Independence in Lebanon”. The round table was the final out of a series of workshops dedicated to work on practical and comprehensive policy proposals for Lebanon. The round table took place at the Mövenpick Hotel in Raouche and was organized under the auspices of HE MP George Edwan. Among the participants were - alongside with the ministers, policy makers, representatives of the Lebanese Forces, journalists and experts from the Lebanese judiciary, HE Minister Laurent Anselmi of Monaco - the Director of the Judical Services, and the Director of the Middle East and North Africa at Lexis Nexis, Guillaume Deroubaix.

The round table provided participants with in-depth-information on the challenges facing the judicial system in Lebanon and enabled both policy makers and leading experts to exchange views on this topic.

The event was divided into four sessions. After two opening speeches - held by HE Georage Edwan and Malte Gaier, Head of the KAS Lebanon Office - former Judge Chbeeb Moukalled introduced the first session on the “Judicial Training and Performance Evaluation Criteria for Judges”. Subsequent to this, Lawyer Nizar Saghieh reported on the law on the independence and transparency of the judiciary. The third and the forth session were held by HE Minister Laurent Anselmi and Director Daroubaix on the independence of the administration of justice and the access to legal information.

In his opening speech HE Georage Edwan emphasized the outstanding importance of the independence of the judiciary. He highlighted that Lebanon has to foremost encounter omnipresent corruption. Due to the ineffective and corrupted court system the Lebanese would continuously loose trust in any political structure. Mr. Edwan closed by stating that his party is deeply committed in promoting the system of checks and balances since “the people deserve true Rule of Law which can only be realized with an independent judiciary.”

Dr. Malte Gaier likewise stressed the importance of the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. In order strengthen Lebanon’s judicial system debates on structural reforms would be necessary. If true adjustments were implemented not only the Lebanese people would gain trust in their system but the economy would profit enormously from increasing international investments.

HE Minister Laurent Anselmi presented his countries experiences with the division of the administration, the legislation and the judiciary. He highlighted the importance of independent and equal trials and a judicial system which is able to control the government’s activities. He closed by stating that Lebanon could rely on international support to build up a more independent judicial system.

In his presentation, Director Deroubaix stated that even though efforts to control corruption are subjects of debate and action in Lebanon, the independence of the judiciary as well as true rule of law are foremost vital elements to reduce corruption. He added that reforms could only be implemented if all forces truly participated in the process of restructuring the judicial system.

KAS thanks all participants and guests for their valued contributions to the round table.

The rich discussions, conclusions and directives from the forth workshop will be collected in a paper that will be included in the reform program to be presented by the Lebanese Forces Party during the closing conference.