Main Arab Legal Events: The Legal Agenda’s Perspective Weekly Note no 24 (10-18 February 2013)

2013-02-20    |   

The Higher Committee of Consultations in Lebanon Grants Civil Marriage Right to Lebanese not Belonging to any Sect
The Supreme Judicial Council in Lebanon Calls upon Officials and Public Opinion to keep Judiciary away from any “Debates Hindering its Mission”
The Moroccan Judges Club towards Disclosing and Publishing Attempts to Influence the Judiciary
Prisoners of Conscience Pursue their Hunger Strike in Oman to Protest against Interference in the Judiciary
First Verdict to Dismiss Charges of Lese Majeste against 5 Activists in Kuwait
1- Lebanon:
-The Higher Committee for Consultations in the Ministry of Justice ruled that “Lebanese citizens not belonging to any sect have the right to hold civil marriage in Lebanon, and the freedom to designate the civil law (French or any other) they want to govern their marriage and subsequent family life”. Although not binding for the Interior Ministry that has not yet registered the marriage contract, the ruling might be a first step towards the adoption of civil marriage on the Lebanese territories. 
-The Supreme Judicial Council issued a firm statement, according to which any attempt to damage the image of the Judiciary and judges, as has been the case in the latest months, would have negative impact on the state as an entity, adversely affect one of the constitutional powers, undermine the trust of citizens in the judiciary, and put judges in danger. The Council added that it takes full responsibility for “flaws, if any, in the judicial practices”. The statement was issued after an MP accused the General Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation of having reached a political compromise in a legal case. 
2- Morocco:
-In a one of a kind step enhancing the role of Judges’ Professional Associations in defending the independence of the Judiciary, the Moroccan Judges’ Club will soon be publishing an annual report about attempts by leading political figures to interfere in the work of the Judiciary and influence its verdicts. 
-The Qursaya Island’s case: 15 days after the start of military trials on February 1, the military court delivered its verdicts in the case related to “the Akdim Azik” camp. According to the verdicts, citizens were convicted on charges of “forming a criminal gang, committing and taking part in acts of violence against members of public forces leading to premeditated death, and mutilation of corpses”. Sanctions varied between life imprisonment and non-appealable condemnation to 20 and 30 years in prison. 

3- Yemen:
-The Central Security Forces stormed the sit-in square of the wounded revolutionaries and assaulted the demonstrators who were protesting against the delay of the government in enforcing the legal verdict relevant to their case. 
-The administrative committee of the Judicial Forum in the province of Eden denounced the Supreme Judicial Council’s unfounded decision to transfer the General Secretary of the Forum in Eden to the province of Lahaj in an attempt to overshadow the forum’s events. The committee described the decision as “arbitrary” and took a stance of solidarity with the forum. 

4- Tunisia:
-Judges launched the second phase of protests through delaying by one hour the start of the hearings, and carrying on wearing the red badge. On the other hand, the Ministry of Justice urgently called for submitting the draft law on the establishment of a legal committee to the Constituent National Council and for ruling on the matter as fast as possible, knowing that no effective initiative in this regard has been taken by the Council to date.  
Beyond the Weekly Note:
-The first acquittal verdict was issued after a series of imprisonment verdicts against bloggers and opponents, including three former deputies (since October 2012). The verdict dismissed charges of lese majeste against 5 activists on twitter. 
-Several prisoners of conscience in Oman convicted of insulting the Sultan and illegal assembly are still on a hunger strike. They now amounted to 23, many of whom suffer from a deterioration of their health condition. It should be noted that the prisoners are protesting against interference in the work of the Judiciary. 

To read the news, go to the Arabic version
Prepared by Christelle El-Feghaly

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Articles, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Rule of Law, Accountability and Corruption, Tunisia, Yemen

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