Lebanon to re-examine obligations to prevent torture
Judges and lawyers from Lebanon recently re-examined the issues of criminalising the offence of torture, in a seminar organised by the Association for Justice and Mercy (AJEM) on 17 – 18 February 2012 in Beirut.
Though Lebanon has ratified the Convention Against Torture and its Optional Protocol (OPCAT), Lebanon has not yet taken the necessary steps to effectively criminalise torture or to establish a National Preventive Mechanism. In response, this timely event was organised to examine how legal actors might support the progress now seen in Lebanon, and build further enthusiasm to seek the absolute elimination of torture in the country.
At the event, Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi recognized that Lebanon needed to do more to make the guarantees and freedoms accepted by Lebanon a reality for persons deprived of liberty: "It is true that Lebanon signed the Convention Against Torture in 2000 and joined the Optional Protocol Against Torture in 2008, but honestly the agreement has not been practically implemented," he said. Qortbawi promised that his Ministry would now take the necessary steps to criminalise torture and prosecute those who commit the offence.
During the event, attended by distinguished judges and lawyers who examine the legal issues around torture and ill-treatment in Lebanon on a regular basis, the APT joined a panel of experienced speakers to address the role of jurisprudence in the promotion and development of the definition of torture, and to deliver a presentation examining the laws of comparative States which had already taken steps to effectively criminalise torture.