Beirut Bar Association building in Beirut, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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The debate on the functioning of the judiciary was reignited following a spate of execution-style murders in recent months, which led to a number of political figures calling for the reinstatement of capital punishment.Beirut-based NGO The Legal Agenda, the International Commission of Jurists and the Siracusa International Institute – together with a group of judges and party representatives – have formed a commission that is currently working on a new draft law that seeks to reinforce judges' independence from the executive branch, which they aim to present to Parliament by the end of the year.Exclusively judicial in composition, the Higher Judicial Council deals with judicial appointments, transfers, training and the disciplining of judges.The United Nations Human Rights Committee had already stated back in 1997 that the procedures governing the appointment of judges and in particular members of the Higher Judicial Council were "far from satisfactory". At present, the Higher Judicial Council is composed of 10 judges, eight of which are elected by the executive. Similarly to the Higher Judicial Council, the Judicial Inspection Body – tasked with the evaluation of the public service of justice – is also identified as a tool of the executive to exert pressure on judges.
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