Last updated on April 7th, 2018 at 12:11 pm
Environmental Prosecution Law in Lebanon Enhancing transparency and specialization in the judiciary
The House of Representatives adopted a bill in April 2014 aimed at allocating full-time public lawyers and investigating magistrates in a remarkable step towards activating environmental protection laws before the judiciary. In its final form, the mini-committee charged with the study of the said law has replaced the Environmental Public Prosecution with the appointment of a full-time public environmental lawyer in each governorate, which is directly and effectively responsible for carrying out the case before the examining magistrate or before the competent court immediately and directly.
The most prominent aspect of the law is “the publication of judgments and decisions issued in environmental cases in two local newspapers, including the decision to uphold the case.” This step is essential in terms of activating the principle of transparency and establishing the right of public opinion to access and access judicial works, thus contributing to the promotion of public debate in this regard. The move will also encourage judges in environmental issues to improve the quality of their judgments because they are aware that their production will be in the limelight.
In addition, the law has been distinguished by including materials that require the qualification of progressive judges in the field of environmental culture. This was reflected in the addition of the fourth paragraph to article 54, paragraph 3, of the Code of Judicial Justice, “Environmental law material to teaching materials at the Judicial Studies Institute”. This is an add-on
A unique legislative step to link the establishment of specialized judicial bodies and judicial curricula.
In addition, article 38 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was amended so as to add a number of bodies to the judicial authorities, as well as to establish an environmental justice officer.
It remains to be seen that the specter of political interference is absent from the implementation of this law, especially since the environmental crimes of quarries, crackers and factories located in a number of Lebanese regions are generally covered by a policy that has impeded the passage of this law since 1997.
Published in the sixteenth issue of the legal journal