In April 2021, the Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) at the Embassy of the United States in Beirut, in collaboration with the American Bar Association (ABA), concluded a series of training seminars for members of the Lebanese judicial system focused on efforts to strengthen the country’s criminal justice processes and develop proposals for alternative sentencing or judicial punishments other than incarceration. The Embassy’s support for this program represents its ongoing commitment to the creation of an independent and effective Lebanese judicial system that can address issues of corruption and help enact reforms necessary for the country’s development.
Through a $1 million grant over two-and-a-half years, the ABA invited numerous American legal experts to provide technical training for more than 350 Lebanese judges and prosecutors. These sessions explored a range of topics, such as explanations of modern forensic techniques, the use of digital evidence in prosecutions, how to track money laundering schemes, the evolution of cyber-related crimes, how to prosecute case involving banking secrecy and illicit enrichment, and combatting public corruption. Other training sessions focused on the concept of plea bargaining and alternatives to incarceration as a means of reducing Lebanon’s pre-trial prison population. Together, these programs provided participants examples of best practices in international legal cooperation and expanded the knowledge and capacity for Lebanese officials to investigate such crimes.
“This training served as an occasion for Lebanese judges to advance their knowledge and expertise on several subjects pertaining the various field of the law,” said Head of the Higher Judicial Council Judge Souheil Abboud. “These sessions allowed the Lebanese judiciary and INL to engage in a valuable collaboration which opens promising prospects for the future.”
Following these seminars, the ABA conducted train-the-trainer sessions for fifteen Lebanese judges, who will develop continuing education classes for judges and prosecutors on similar topics, ensuring participants will retain their knowledge and implement the skills gained during the ABA sessions.