Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Two important ICJ reports: Lebanon's military courts and trials of civilians

Global Military Justice Reform at times learns about pertinent developments only well after the fact. A current example is this excellent May 2018 briefing paper by the International Commission of Jurists on Lebanon's military courts, which violate human rights standards in a host of ways.

The report was "produced in the frame of the Action entitled 'The independence of the judiciary in Lebanon: a social priority' funded by the European Union and implemented by The Legal Agenda in partnership with the International Commission of Jurists, and the Siracusa International Institute for Criminal Justice and Human Rights."

In order to significantly reinforce judicial independence in Lebanon in conformity with international standards, the ICJ calls on the Lebanese authorities to ensure that the jurisdiction of its military courts be restricted to cover only military-related offences committed by members of the military. In addition, in order to comply with Lebanon’s obligations under the ICCPR and the Arab Charter on Human Rights, the Code of Military Justice must be amended so as to ensure that the proceedings before military tribunals respect fair trial guarantees. These include the protection of the rights to defence and equality of arms, the right to a public hearing and to a fully reasoned judgment, and the right to appeal of any conviction and sentence to a higher independent and impartial tribunal. Implementation of these recommendations for reform are key steps to bringing the Lebanese military justice system more in line with Lebanon’s obligations under the ICCPR and will enhance respect for the rule of law in the country.
A second example, also from 2018, is the ICJ's Spanish-language study of the trial of civilians by military courts. From the press release:
The report presents jurisprudence and doctrine on the trial of civilians by military tribunals, developed by treaty bodies and special human rights procedures of the United Nations, the European Court of Human Rights, the African Commission of Human Rights and the Peoples and the Court and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

The report also presents the main trends in the field of competence of military tribunals, in light of national developments. In addition, the report analyzes the current situation of military tribunals in Brazil, Guinea, Mexico, Portugal, Tunisia and Venezuela.

Finally, the report reproduces the main international law and standards related to the right to be judged by an independent, impartial and competent tribunal, as well as to the trial of civilians by military tribunals, adopted by intergovernmental systems, associations of judges and international conferences of experts.

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