16 June 2024 09:24 AM

COURTS > Penal Courts Back

Legal texts
  • The code of criminal procedure, issued per law number 328 dated 07/08/2001 and its amendments.
  • The law of the judicial judiciary and the judicial organization issued per the legislative decree number 150 dated 16/09/1983 and its amendments.
  • The code of procedures before the Supreme Council dated 23/08/1990.
  • The law of the protection of the juveniles who violated the law or who are at risk, issued per law number 422 dated 6/6/2002.
  • The press law issued on 14/09/1962 and amended per the legislative decree number 104/77 and per the two laws number 89/91 and 330/94.
  • The law for fighting fraud issued per the legislative decree number 54 dated 29/07/1983.

Phases of the criminal lawsuit

The criminal law goes through three phases before the courts, and in this respect one needs to differentiate between:
  • The pursuit and prosecution judiciary (to refer to the section pertaining to the public prosecutions).
  • The examining judiciary (to refer to the section of the examining judiciary)
  • The judgment judiciary (which shall be detailed in this section).

Sentence Judiciary

Ordinary Courts
  • The courts of the ordinary criminal judiciary are composed of the following bodies: The Single Criminal Judge, the Court of Appeals in misdemeanors and contraventions, the Assizes Court and the Criminal Cassation Court.
  • All these courts do examine the civil lawsuits which are the lawsuits for loss and damages, and the civil obligations resulting from a public lawsuit.

Penal Single Judge

  • The Court of First Instance for the penal cases is composed of Single Judges.
  • Only judges of the second degree and above may be appointed as Single Judges.
  • While noting that in the past there used to exist the system of “The penal Court of First Instance”, and before that, the system of “the Reconciliation Judge”.
  • The Penal Single Judge examines the cases of misdemeanors and contraventions, except for those excluded per a special text.
  • The public prosecution is not represented before him.
  • He handles the case through one of the following manners :
    • The public prosecution claim.
    • The direct lawsuit presented by the victim in which he institutes civil action.
    • The indictment issued by the Examining Judge or the Indictment Chamber.
    • The decision to determine the competent authority or to transfer the lawsuit.
    • The case of the occurrence of a misdemeanor during the convening of the court session.
    • The contraventions confirmed in the proceedings.

Court of Appeal

In each province, there is a Court of Appeals, of which each chamber is composed of a president and two consultants. The appeal public prosecution or the financial public prosecution is represented before the Court of Appeals and this depending on the type of the case that the Court of Appeals is examining.
  • The Court of Appeals examines the appeal of judgments issued in the cases of misdemeanors by the Penal Single Judge, provided that they had settled the subject of the case.
    As for those which have not settled the subject of the case, they may not be appealed unless with the final judgment.
    Are excluded from these provisions, and may be appealed, the decisions concerning one or more of the formal pleadings provided for in the article 73 of the criminal procedure law, and the decisions by which the Single Judge ends the trial without examining its subject, and the decisions issued in the acceptance or rejection of the requests for release.
  • The Court of Appeals examines as well the appeal of the judgments issued by the Penal Single Judge in the contraventions, provided that they include an imprisonment or a contravention arrest or a fine exceeding five hundred thousand Lebanese pounds, or include an additional or subordinate penalty or personal compensations that exceed the amount of five hundred thousand Lebanese pounds, or include the rejection of one of the pleadings provided for in the article 73 of the criminal procedure law, or include a penalty for a contravention related to a misdemeanor.

Assizes Court

The Assizes Court consists of one of the chambers of the Court of Appeals in every province, and it is composed of a president and two consultants, in the presence of the representative of the public prosecution and the clerk. May not participate in the formation of the body of this Court, judges who have previously fulfilled in the lawsuit any of the prosecution or investigation activities, or judges who were members in the Indictment Chamber that have pronounced the indictment judgment.
  • The Assizes Court examines all the crimes of felony type, and the misdemeanors related to these crimes and referred with them within one indictment.
  • The Assizes Court is bound by the content of the indictment in terms of facts, and bound by the accused individuals, but it is not bound in terms of the competence and the legal description of the acts mentioned in it.

Penal Cassation Court

  • The Court of Cassation is at the head of the judiciary courts, and is located in Beirut and composed of a number of chambers per the requirements of the work and its distribution. The chamber is formed of a president and two consultants.
  • The Public Prosecution is represented by the Public Prosecutor in the Cassation Court or one of the Public Attorneys therein.
  • Regarding the degree of the judges of the Penal Court of Cassation, one may refer to what is mentioned in the section of “Civil Courts” regarding “the Cassation Court.”
The Penal Court of Cassation is competent to examine the following:
  • The requests that subject to cassation the judgments pronounced by the Assizes Courts and the decisions pronounced by the Court of Appeals in misdemeanors and by the Indictment Chamber.
  • The other cassation requests that fall within its competence by virtue of special laws.
  • The requests for retrial in the penal lawsuits.
  • The requests to determine the competent authority.
  • The request to transfer the lawsuit.
  • The crimes of the judges.

Special Criminal Courts

 In addition to the above ordinary criminal courts the Lebanese legislator established some special criminal courts, assigned to them the task of examining some crimes and determined to each one of them special trial proceedings and that per laws that are independent from the code of criminal proceedings.

Supreme Council for prosecuting presidents and min

  • The Supreme Council for prosecuting the presidents and the ministers is composed of fifteen members:
    • Eight of which are of the judicial judges of the higher ranks according to the judiciary echelon of hierarchy, or considering the seniority in case of equality in degrees, and they are nominated by the Court of Cassation in all its chambers.
    • Seven of the deputies elected by the parliament.
  • The members of the Supreme Council convene under the presidency of the judge of the highest rank, and their criminalizing judgments are issued by a majority of ten votes.
  • The public prosecution before the Supreme Council is handled by one of the judges, appointed by the Supreme Court composed of all its chambers.
  • The Supreme Council handles the trial of ministers and presidents for crimes directly related to the practice of their functions according to what is provided for in the law. But their other actions which do not fall within this category remain of the competence of the ordinary criminal courts.        
  • Taking civil action is not accepted before the Supreme Council and the principles of trial of the criminal courts are followed and the accused remains free until the issuance of the final decision.
  • Retrial is the only channel of review that is accepted regarding the decisions of the higher council.

Judicial Council

The Judicial Council is consisted of:
  • The First President of the Cassation Court, as President
  • Four judges of the Cassation Court, as members, appointed by virtue of a decree issued by the council of ministers upon the suggestion of the Minister of Justice and after the approval of the Supreme Council of Justice.
  • One supplementary judge, or more, to replace the incumbent judge in case of his death, his declining, his rejection or the end of his functions.
  • The public prosecution before the Judicial Council is represented by the Public Prosecutor in the Cassation Court or any of his assistants.
  • The Judicial Investigator handles the primary examination in crimes referred to the Council, and he assembles in his person the functions of the Examining Judge and those of the Indictment Chamber.
Its competence
  • The Judicial Council examines all the crimes committed against the internal or external security of the State, as well as some of the crimes committed against the public safety, etc., and he handles the lawsuit per a decision issued by the Council of Ministers.
  • The trial before the Judicial Council is submitted to the procedures followed by the Assizes Court, and its judgments cannot be subject to any ordinary or exceptional means of review, except for the objection and the retrial. 

Competences of the Judicial Investigator
  • He is entitled to issue all the warrants that the investigation requires, without requesting it from the public prosecution, and all his decisions -in this concern- are final and cannot be subject to any means of revision.
  • He handles the lawsuit in an objective way; therefore, he questions as defendant any person shown by the investigation as a participant in the crime even if his name has not figured among those against whom the public prosecution has presented the claim.
  • He issues the warrant of arrest against the accused.
  • The principles followed before the Examining Judge are applicable at the exception of the duration of arrest provided for in the article 108 of the code of criminal proceedings.
  • And as a result of verification of the investigation, it decides the non-trial of the defendant or accusing him or referring him to the Judiciary Council.

Press Offenses Court

One of the chambers of the Court of Appeals examines the crimes of publications as a court of publications. It is composed of a president and two consultants. It examines the lawsuit in first instance.
  • The territorial competence regarding the publication crimes covers the scope of the distribution of the publication and not only the center where this publication was printed or issued from.
  • The publication court examines the crimes referred to it through an indictment by the Examining Judge or through a direct suit by the public prosecution or the personal claimant.

Monopoly and Fraud Court

The Appeal Tribunal crimes - composed of a president and two advisers - approve on cases of fraud and monopoly. It approve on the trial in the first degree.

  • The court ruling on "the business monopoly, fraud and price" shall have the jurisdiction to adjudicate the crimes mentioned in the decree-law No. 54 dated 29 / 7 / 83.
  • He will rule on trial for first degree, and his judgments will admit that the opposition as a remedy.
Juvenile Court
Definition of a minor:
A minor is a person who is under the age of 18 years and subject to the Law for Minors in 2  cases: If this person commits an offence sanctioned by the law or if this person is exposed to  danger under the circumstances determined by the law.
Creation of the Juvenile Court:
The Juvenile Court is composed of:
  • A single judge who examines infractions, offences and the cases provided for in Chapter 3 of the Law for Minors (cases of danger for minors).
  • The 1st chamber of the First Degree Court which examines the offences.
The jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court:
The Juvenile court examines criminal cases that are only related to minors.
Minors are prosecuted and interrogated over offences they are accused of according to  procedures cited in the Code of Criminal Procedure.
They are judged according to procedures adopted by First degree criminal courts whatever the  nature of the offence committed, taking into consideration exceptions provided for in this law.
In case the minor has participated with one or more adults in one or more concomitant offences, he shall be prosecuted, investigated and sentenced to a trial before a common law court, i.e. criminal ordinary courts. These courts must apply procedural guarantees provided for in the Law on the Protection of Minors.
The role of the criminal ordinary courts is limited to defining the incrimination of the minor, the determination of his responsibility, legal qualification of committed acts and specification of his civil duties. Later on, he will have to go back before the Juvenile Court after the conclusion of the verdict of the ordinary court. A minor has the right to a hearing further to which he shall be subject to measures and sanctions according to the Law on Protection of Minors.
The Juvenile Court is competent to examine all criminal and civil cases related to minors for the juvenile court is the authority which has jurisdiction in all their matters and is initially in charge of the application of the Law on the Protection of Minors.
Relevant ministries must provide all necessary means needed for the application of this law.
It is to be noted that offences committed by minors are defined by criminal laws. However sanctions provided for in these laws or other laws are lessened for minors.
The Juvenile Court is competent to emphasize non-depriving of liberty measures such as public blame, protection and supervised freedom (placement under probation), and liberty depriving measures such as reformation and correction for minors in violation of law as well as for minors  exposed to danger.
The territorial jurisdiction of judicial authorities over cases related to minors is determined according to the place of the crime, the minor’s residence, his domicile or his parents’ domicile, the place of his arrest, the location of the reformatory or disciplinary center or the institution
where the minor was placed or the domicile of the person who was in charge of  him.


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