Judicial woes pose a real worry for Lebanese

Judicial woes pose a real worry for Lebanese


Sejean Azzi


(See Translation in Arabic Section

The Lebanese judiciary has experienced what has befallen Lebanon: a double-source attack from outside and within. There arose a complicity between the two sources as politicised, sectarian and corrupt judges work for the benefit of external sources.

The danger here is threefold: the first is that those who perform this task are not junior judges in a rural court but senior judges occupying high positions with judicial power. The second is that they know what they are doing, and act out of a preconceived notions. The third is that the division in the judiciary, especially at the level of the Supreme Judicial Council and the Public Prosecutions, has a sectarian and doctrinal character and disrupts the work of the judiciary similar to the disruption of the work of the Council of Ministers.

Do they want the judiciary also to be federal?

The diseases of the Lebanese judiciary have become an embodiment of the diseases of Lebanon: sectarian cantons. Its independence was compromised without recourse. Judges encroach upon the powers of their colleagues.

The corruption of the judiciary was a major cause of the collapse of the Roman Empire after centuries of glory. The similarity between Rome and Lebanon - which is limited to the corruption of the judiciary - is that Rome’s political and military officials harmed the Roman judiciary more than material corruption.

The political authority there elevated the corrupt judges instead of punishing them, which provoked the famous Roman orator Ciceron (106/43 BC), who put his pleadings against the corrupt judges and rulers, to the courts of Sicily and Rome.

This “indictment report” does not affect the judicial body in general. In my country, there are judges who honour the people and the country; at the forefront is the President of the Supreme Judicial Council, Suhail Abboud, who is distinguished by his integrity and patriotism.

These honourable judges complain about their perverted colleagues just as the people complain of them, as corruption expands like a tumour and harms the judicial body because it is difficult for the ordinary citizen to distinguish between one judge and another, and between the judge and the judiciary.

The concept of “intime conviction” is not limited to the judge but also includes public opinion about the judge. The majority of the Lebanese people have an intimate - and public - conviction that the germ of political, moral and financial corruption has spread to judges, and they have become ambushes for the innocent and escapees for the accused.

 The profession of the judge is to read the law of judgments with his conscience, not with his eyes only. Conscience is the pact of justice with truth but our judiciary has become based on the remains of a conscience, relying on the remains of laws, in front of the remains of a people who gather the remains of a homeland.

Fear of judicial delinquency prompted the French legislators who drafted the Penal Code in 1791, following their revolution, to ensure that the words are clear, specific and unambiguous, so that the judge does not interpret them at his whim, and to limit the discretion in resorting to the text.

On that day, Mirabeau said that the judge applies the text without interpreting it or else becomes a legislator!

There has emerged in Lebanon a dangerous phenomenon that modern societies have rarely known; the people’s indifference towards the judiciary and aversion to it and the tendency to oppose it as if it were a party or a group.

In other words, after aborting the rule of the people issued by the parliamentary elections, these forces are now seeking to abort the judgment issued in the name of the people by the judiciary.

Political pressure on judges has become stronger than financial bribery, and religious legal references have become the determining court to which this or that case should be referred, and the judge who may investigate it. A farce in a dramatic reality. What was missing was the drama of dancing on the graves of the port’s martyrs, lawyers who rose up, defending people against a people, and competed in challenging the work of the judiciary and its authority with shameless shamelessness against them and their clients.

Therefore, the Lebanese people are supposed to defend the targeted judicial institution. A state in which there is an honest, courageous and active judiciary, in which there is everything, and a state in which there is everything and no impartial judiciary, has nothing. Indeed, a judiciary that spreads justice replaces security institutions because justice is security.

But where is the justice in my country? Judges, before people, talk about corrupt judges, a corrupt administration, a corrupt political class, corrupt businessmen and bankers, and we do not see any of them behind bars. The judiciary does not need a political decision or a military order to act. He is the decision, the command, and the judgment.

If the people are upset with the judiciary, it is because they loved it and bet on it to be the spearhead in the fight against corruption and national change, especially after the popular uprising stumbled. However, they were shocked by the faltering of the judiciary as well, and by judges who constitute an extension of the political class in the judicial body. The moment is opportune for the eradication to rise up against itself and the political community, so as to restore the initiative and the people’s confidence. Take the gavel, Mr Abboud...


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