Working Towards An Integrated Approach To Forensics In Fair Legal Proceedings in Lebanon

From 19-25 June 2016, The Hague Institute hosted a distinguished delegation consisting of the Lebanese Chief General Prosecutor to the Supreme Court, trial and investigative judges and prosecutors during the first high-level exposure visit on forensics in fair legal proceedings in Lebanon. The main theme of this weeklong program was international best practice of forensic information and evidence in civilian and military legal proceedings that abide by international fair trial standards.

During this visit, the delegation engaged in expert exchanges with renowned national and international experts from the Netherlands Forensics Institute, the Netherlands Registry of Court Experts, the Dutch Commission on Closed Cases, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the Dutch Study Center for the Judiciary, and The Hague Institute for Global Justice. Sessions pertained to a variety of issues such as chain of custody; lab proceedings; quality control measures such as accreditation of forensic institutions and certification of individual forensic experts; use of forensics in Dutch legal proceedings especially after known miscarriages of justice; use of forensic sciences in international criminal proceedings; international best practice relating to prosecution strategies of conflict-related sexual violence; and curriculum drafting for ongoing professional exchanges between national and international forensic and legal experts. In addition, for a unique insight into work done on forensics in legal proceedings in The Hague, the delegation visited the International Criminal Court, the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and the laboratory of the Netherlands Forensics Institute.

Ultimately, the delegation identified areas for further cooperation, including on enhancing the understanding of forensic sciences and reports; strengthening legal expertise of forensic experts; and ensuring regular exchanges with national and international experts on the use of forensics in fair legal proceedings. In the coming period, the delegation and the project team will work closely together to identify concrete ways to take these issues forward with a view to strengthening the use of forensics in fair legal proceedings in Lebanon.

This first high-level exposure visit is part of a three-year project, entitled “The Netherlands Support to Forensic Capability and Uptake in Lebanon”. Our project partner organizations are Aktis Strategy and the Netherlands Forensics Institute. The project is generously funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This project is an important component of The Hague Institute’s efforts to enhance global justice by promoting a global rule of law culture. For a rule of law culture worldwide, enhancing accountability and civic trust in formal and informal justice institutions are essential. This project seeks to achieve this objective, as it intends to ensure fairer and more effective legal proceedings through an integrated approach to forensics in the security and justice sectors in Lebanon.

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