Lebanon is legally bound by several international human rights agreements and pledges that enhance the right to fair trial. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the Lebanese Constitution, and the 2010 Universal Periodic Review that recommended the establishment of an National Preventive Mechanism against Torture, are of the most important agreements and pledges upheld legally in Lebanon.
The widespread culture of impunity and weak rule of law, have created various obstacles that prevent the fulfillment of these obligations, and subsequently, the protection of the right to fair trial. These obstacles are further exacerbated by the political situation which Lebanese lawmakers are quick to say is holding them back from fulfilling their responsibilities under international law. The repercussions of the lack of enforcement of the right to fair trial have greater impact on other issues relating to torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, and impunity as they relate diretly to the trial process. As well as on marginalized groups that have minimal legal protection in Lebanon, like LGBTI persons, drug addicts, migrant workers, refugees, accused spies and terrorists, political activists, and human rights defenders.
The project “Towards Realizing the Right to a Fair Trial”, with the support of the European Union, and in partnership with the Lebanese Centre for Policy Studies (LCPS) and the Human rights legal clinic at La Sagesse University (HRLC), aims at focusing on what contributes to the protection, fulfillment and respect of one’s right to a fair trial.
ALEF aims to achieve greater respect for fair trial guarantees by contributing to the fulfillment of human rights obligations by the State of Lebanon, improving the different complaints mechanisms and enhancing the monitoring and documentation of violations of the right to a fair trial. ALEF will also push the Lebanese authorities to implement policies and establish mechanisms guaranteeing the fulfillment of human rights obligations with regard to the right to a fair trial in Lebanon. Additionally the increment of public pressure to ensure fair trial practices, and strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations to monitor, document, report and defend fair trial practices.
ALEF has been able to conduct a baseline study and literature review to produce user-friendly material on the role of different actors in the fair trial process which highlights the best practices, case studies and legal precedents of fair trial.
ALEF has also implemented capacity building and awareness- raising sessions that will enable law students and activists to apply their skills in their daily practice to increase the number of fair trials in Lebanon.
ALEF has also published a series of position papers focusing on the state of fair trial in Lebanon, and an online database that includes materials produced throughout the project, legal precedents, documented cases, new legislative reforms, and international standards pertaining to right to fair trial. This is in addition to a media campaign that aims at raising awareness and mobilizing the public about certain rights.
All of this feeds into ALEF’s constant and ongoing monitoring and documentation of human rights violations, which in turn helps ALEF in reporting such violations and advocating for the improved implementation of human rights policies in Lebanon.