BEIRUT: An independent, impartial, and competent judiciary is integral to upholding the rule of law and dispensing justice.
In an effort to dig into the criteria for an independent judiciary system and highlight the challenges it faces, Coffee and Politics hosted a public discussion with Judge Jean Fahd, former head of the Supreme Judicial Council.
Fahd kicked off by highlighting that a critical element in achieving and preserving fair and impartial justice is judicial independence, which involves the principle of the separation of powers. Therefore, the judiciary would resolve disputes free from improper outside influence, self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism. Fahd explained that the judiciary must prioritize the issue of its independence for the sake of building a better society based on the rule of law.
According to the UN Human Rights, “A situation where the functions and competencies of the judiciary and the executive are not clearly distinguishable or where the latter is able to control or direct the former is incompatible with the notion of an independent tribunal."
Lebanon’s judiciary system and its interference and encroachment with multiple elements hinder its ability to function effectively. Fahd explained that under the current framework, the system is influenced by executive and political actors. He then shared the potential solutions required in order to achieve a level of judicial independence that falls in accordance with international standards.
One of the proposed solutions that could help in consolidating and supporting the independence of judges is the interaction and coordination between the judicial branch and the Ministry of Justice in a manner that serves the best interest of both parties.
Fahd’s recommendations were primarily directed towards the Lebanese authorities, but can also be taken into account by civil society organizations that take part in actively engaging in the process of promotion and strengthening judicial independence.
Coffee and Politics is a community built to allow citizens to be informed on legislative policies, municipality ordinances, and county regulations. As Tracy Nehme, founder of Coffee and Politics, puts it, “the goal of the community is to promote the discussion of politics among Lebanese citizens in a way that can benefit everyone.” Nehme told Annahar that in light of the October 17 revolution,
'Coffee and Politics' has been attempting to get figures from within the power system, and not only university professors or experts from civil society. "We believe in giving the public all the information and knowledge they can have in order to form a conscious opinion," she said.
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