File - The Justice Palace building is seen in Baabda, Thursday, April 19, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Lebanese judges are seldom promoted without a politician's help, according to the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Legal Agenda, who says this state of affairs ensures legal immunity for partisan friends and cronies.One of its flagship features would be to drastically reduce the role of the government, and therefore the justice minister, in appointing and transferring judges.Under the current law, politicians must sign off on the Higher Judicial Council's proposal for judicial appointments with a decree, allowing political interests and corruption to infect the legal system, Saghieh says.As a result, clientelism is rife in the judicial system, and those judges who refuse to cozy up to politicians, Saghieh says, are mocked for it.The Legal Agenda's law would therefore expand the Higher Judicial Council's ability to make judicial appointments without government approval. It would also make the majority of the council's members elected by judges, rather than appointed by the executive branch, and reduce the justice minister's role in appointing the remaining members, along with other reforms.The reaction of judges to the law seems, so far, to be ambivalent.
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