4. THE RULE OF LAW
THE NEW LEBANON must be built on the RULE OF LAW and ONLY the RULE OF LAW
IN EVERY MODERN SOCIETY, THE RULE OF LAW IS THE PILLAR OF THE SOCIETY.
ONLY LAWS ADOPTED BY A DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED PARLIAMENT ARE LEGITIMATE.
ONLY COURTS OF JUSTICE THAT ARE INDEPENDENT AND SECULAR ARE LEGITIMATE.
SECULAR LAW AND THE STATE JUDICIARY HAVE SUPREMACY OVER ALL OTHER LAWS OR JURISDICTIONS, unless voluntarily and freely chosen by all conflicting parties as is the case with commercial arbitrage or religious tribunals.
In case of conflicts of Laws or of Jurisdictions, SECULAR LAWS MUST PREVAIL and NATIONAL COURTS MUST HAVE JURISDICTION.
THE PARTY OF LEBANON WANTS:
- INSCRIBE THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY IN THE CONSTITUTION
As in all democracies, it is paramount that The JUDICIARY exerts its powers in FULL INDEPENDANCE and remains protected from interference by the EXECUTIVE or the LEGISLATIVE POWERS.
Lebanon’s legal organization is flawed and has been singled out several times in the ARAB CENTER FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE RULE OF LAW reports on Lebanon. The Taëf Agreement stipulated a formula to uphold judicial autonomy through the election of members of the Higher Judicial Council by the judicial body. This formula, however, was not implemented and no legislation has been thus endorsed and members of the Judiciary live under constant political pressure and threats.
The establishment of a HIGHER AND UNIFIED JUDICIARY BODY to run judicial affairs, whether legal, administrative or financial and replace the existing bodies, is paramount. This higher body must be granted full authority to monitor administrative, judicial and financial bodies, whether commissions, courts, councils or committees. It must be granted a full right to take administrative and financial decisions related to judicial authority without any intervention from the Executive. Therefore, the power of the Minister of Justice and the Cabinet shall be annulled in this respect, with a few exceptions that do not reduce the Higher Body’s full authority.
- A SECULAR JUDICIARY FREE FROM CORRUPTION AND NEPOTISM
The Judiciary must be FREED FROM SECTARIANISM. Judiciary personnel must apply the Law to all citizens in equal ways and make no difference based on religion, gender or origin. Judiciary personnel MUST opt for secularism by Law and declare their assets and revenues annually. There should be severe prison sentences and financial penalties for members of the Judiciary convicted of corruption.
- REDUCE THE POWERS AND REFORM THE EXCEPTIONAL COURTS
It is also paramount to reduce the authority and jurisdiction of exceptional courts, such as the military courts, and limiting their jurisdiction to strictly military crimes. It is also necessary to reexamine the religious and confessional courts’ authorities in order to limit the religious judiciary to the regular courts that fall under the judicial oversight authority, becoming a part of it, in the event a full secular system is not adopted. Many Arab countries, such as Egypt and Tunisia abolished religious and confessional courts of justices.
- REFORM OF THE JUDICIARY
The Judiciary must be reformed to eradicate sectarianism, corruption, nepotism, double allegiance, interferences and to enhance professional standards and the pace of adjudication.
- ELIMINATE SECTARIANISM IN THE NOMINATION PROCESSES AND BASE CAREERS ON MERIT.
- DOUBLE THE NUMBER OF MAGISTRATES AND ATTRACT TALENTED LAWYERS
- TREBBLE THE BUDGET OF THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE to 5 % OF PUBLIC EXPENDITURES
- BUILD NEW PRISONS with 95,000 inmate capacity (2.2 % of the population) to human standards
- INCREASE SALARIES, INCENTIVES, MEDICARE AND RETIREMENT PACKAGES FOR JUDICIARY PERSONNEL and align them with international standards
- LAW ENFORCEMENT MUST BE SECULAR AND FREE FROM CORRUPTION AND NEPOTISM
Law enforcement personnel must opt for secularism by law or resign. Law enforcement personnel must declare their assets and revenues annually. There should be severe prison sentences and financial penalties for law enforcement personnel convicted of corruption.
- REFORM OF THE LAW ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION
- DOUBLE THE BUDGET OF THE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES
- INCREASE SALARIES, INCENTIVES, MEDICARE AND RETIREMENT PACKAGES and align them to international standards
- INVEST IN EQUIPMENT AND REFURBISH ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT FACILITIES
- STRICT ETHICAL CODES TO BE ENACTED FOR THE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES
- TRAINING AND FORMATION MUST BE OF THE HIGHEST STANDARDS.
. GUNS, WEAPONS, AMMUNITION MUST BE TAKEN OUT OF THE PUBLIC WITH ZERO TOLERANCE
. ANTI-CORRUPTION LAWS MUST BE ENFORCED WITH ZERO TOLERANCE
. EQUALITY OF RIGHTS MUST BE ENFORCED WITH ZERO TOLERANCE
. THE RESPECT OF HUMAN RIGHTS MUST BE ENFORCED WITH ZERO TOLERANCE
. RESPECT OF THE INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS OF THE CITIZEN MUST BE ENFORCED WITH ZERO TOLERANCE
. TRAFFIC LAWS AND REGULATIONS MUST BE ENFORCED WITH ZERO TOLERANCE
. BUILDING SAFETY AND URBAN PLANS MUST BE ENFORCED WITH ZERO TOLERANCE
. TAX LAWS MUST BE ENFORCED WITH ZERO TOLERANCE
. ANTI-POLLUTION LAWS MUST BE ENFORCED WITH ZERO TOLERANCE