Governance and politics

Overview of the Rule of Law in Lebanon

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Netherlands)

This article looks at the rule of law in Lebanon from 3 angles: constitutional mechanisms that create the checks and balances and the challenges that obstructed such mechanism; independent judicial review; and equal enforcement of the law; and human rights protection. Its key message is that the rule of law in Lebanon is characterized by an inconsistency in the law itself, in addition to a disparity between law and practice. It also shows how the confessional system that distributes political and institutional power proportionally among Christian and Muslim sects, was transformed from a mechanism for partnership and peaceful coexistence to a tool that compromises the prevalence of the law.

The article concludes that the rule of law  currently stands on a deformed base that can be corrected when:

a)      Confessionalism is eliminated from the political system and governance institutions

b)      Discrepancies and prejudices in the law itself are corrected so that  laws are derived from individual rights and freedom and not confessional fears and balances.

c)       Legislation is followed by efficient and consistent enforcement of the law.

d)      Judiciary is independent and assumes a proactive role in upholding the principle of separation of powers”

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