Martial Justice For All?
Lebanon's Military Court: A "State of Martial Law" Within a "State of Law"
كلنا برسم القضاء العسكري؟

القضاء العسكري بين «هيبة الدولة» و«دولة القانون»
2014 - 2016
In Partnership with Hayya Bina
Supported by the European Union

In 2014, UMAM D&R launched a project with Hayya Bina to examine Lebanon's Military Court (MC), a judicial body that has long been the subject of fervent political and parliamentary debate. Tasked with prosecuting any criminal act that targets Lebanon's military or threatens the State and its institutions, the MC has at times acted well beyond its mandate, such as in 2001 when it tried civilians arrested over their opposition to the Syrian occupation of Lebanon. In theory, a military court is apolitical, resilient to the competing agendas of various power brokers, however, in Lebanon such neutrality is all but impossible. Nonetheless, this does not mean one should simply accept the status quo and move on.

UMAM D&R and Hayya Bina unfurled "Martial Justice for All? Lebanon's Military Court: A 'State of Martial Law' Within a 'State of Law'" to promote and develop an informed debate over the roles and practices of the MC through documentation, research, and increased advocacy. The project, which included a series of meetings, collected material related to the court's administrative functions, its violations of civil liberties and human rights, and its evolving mandate. UMAM D&R added a section onto its Memory At Work website for the initiative so that the public could easily and freely access the newly acquired information, hopefully stimulating the debate around the role of the MC.

In addition to acquiring raw information and documentation, the initiative leveraged its research to create two publications and a documentary about the MC. Through the production of new material and the acquisition and organization of old material, hopefully the Lebanese public will be better equipped to honestly asses the evolving role of military justice in Lebanese society, and how this fits into the broader discussion surrounding Lebanon's judicial and military institutions.