Pre-Trial Detention in Lebanon: Punishment Prior to Conviction or a Necessary Measure?


2019-05-22    |   

Pre-Trial Detention in Lebanon: Punishment Prior to Conviction or a Necessary Measure?

An Analysis of Short-Term Pre-Trial Detention Rulings

This study intends to understand the judicial policies and practices related to the use of pre-trial detention in criminal trials in Lebanon. The term pre-trial detention covers the detention period that occurs from the moment of arrest until the end of the criminal trial. This encompasses the period during which individuals are detained before a conviction, while they are still presumed innocent.

The study examines judicial documents related to pre-trial detention in order to determine if they abide by the principles of the presumption of innocence and that pre-trial detention should be the exception and not the rule. It focuses specifically on short-term pre-trial detention that does not exceed one month, given that around a third of defendants held in pre-trial detention in recent years in Lebanon were held for around one month or less. The study seeks to examine this form of detention in an attempt to paint an initial picture of its use and purpose.

The aim of this study is to answer two main questions. Firstly, is short-term pre-trial detention a necessary measure and in compliance with the Lebanese legal framework? Secondly, how do judicial authorities make decisions related to pre-trial detention, and to what extent do they guarantee the protection of personal freedom from arbitrary and unjustified deprivation of liberty? For that purpose, the study assesses the legal compliance of judicial rulings related to the start and end of the pre-trial detention period in 48 cases related to misdemeanours, and compares these rulings to the outcome of the trials.

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