Among the laws and regulations currently in force in Lebanonseveral might affect the implementation of ICT Standards and Guidelines, such as Israel Boycott law, Copyright law, Telecommunication laws as well as procurement laws and related procedures.
The Israel Boycott Law promulgated on 23 June 1955 prohibits the establishment of any relations with Israel, being an enemy state.
According to the Boycott Law, agreements made either directly or through any intermediary party, with institutions or persons having residence in Israel, or with persons or entities acting on behalf of Israelor its interests, are forbidden. Domestic or foreign entities having plants, factories, branches or representatives in Israelalso fall within the scope of these prohibitions. A “blacklist” of such entities is promulgated by the Council of Ministers and is published in the Official Gazette.
Any trade of Israeli goods, financial documents, and securities is prohibited. Goods are deemed Israeli or assimilated to Israeli goods for such purpose if they are exported from Israelor manufactured outside of Israeland exported to another country with the purpose of being sold or exported on behalf of any of the persons or institutions mentioned above.
The Ministry of Economy and Trade has the responsibility to enforce the boycott regulations. The office of boycott at the Ministry collects data, prepares studies, proposes regulations, enforces decisions and maintains relations with the boycott offices in other Arab countries.
Violation of the Boycott Law may result in the imposition of criminal penalties. Penalties include imprisonment, fines, work prohibitions or the dissolution of a company, if it is an organized business entity under the laws of Lebanon. Military courts have jurisdiction over these matters.
The boycott law might affect the implementation of ICT Standards and Guidelines proposed by the present project, and the related recommended specifications. In fact the boycott law must at all times be taken into consideration when choosing between several ICT candidates and products, and the establishment of Special Tender Conditions, especially in regard of Certificates of Origin and blacklists as per article 1 to 3 of the Boycott Law.
The ICT Standards and Guidelines must at all times be in conformity with Copyright Law number 75 dated 3 April 1999 and the Bern Convention of 1886 for the international protection of intellectual and artistic works as to the protection of copyright and intellectual property of computer software and other supporting devices. Should any Standard or Guideline be in contradiction with copyright laws or the provisions of the Bern Convention, such Standards or Guidelines must be amended or cancelled. On the other hand, any purchase of computer software or other protected works must be done at all times in conformity with such copyright laws and conventions enforceable in Lebanon. Moreover, supplies to Government Agencies must also abide by such provisions and regulations, and compliance must be checked at all times.
It is also to be noted here that European Countries tend to have the public sector use free computer software, i.e. non-protected by copyright, in order to minimize costs. In this course, a bill has been submitted by three French Senators, to render mandatory the use by the administration of such free computer software. The enactment of a similar legislation in Lebanoncould be explored in order to minimize the cost of using software by government Agencies, and avoid as much as possible the risk of copyright violation.
As mentioned above under Section 2.1.2, Communications law number 431 dated 22 July 2002 created the Communication Regulatory Body which has the authority to define and provide Standards and Technical Conditions to be applied to all communication equipments.
To date, such Body has not been formed according to Law 431 and thus it is not yet operational. However, once operational, the Body could introduce certain Standards relative to communication networks or equipment that might differ from the Standards and Guidelines set up in this project. Therefore, any introduction of standards related to communications at the Government level must either be in conformity with the standards that could be set up by said Body, or be approved by it in order to render them mandatory and enforceable.
Article 121 of Public Accounting Law promulgated by decree number 14969 dated 30 December 1963regulates public procurement contracts related to public equipments, works or services. It provides that such contracts are entered by way of public tenders, and sometimes by way of limited tenders or bid invitations, or by mutual consent, or by virtue of a statement or an invoice.
Article 125 of same law provides that General Conditions of Public contracts must be enacted for public tenders. Some General Conditions of public contracts were enacted by decrees regarding certain fields such as Public Works, Army and Internal Security Services and customs equipments.
However no “Specific” General conditions did so far regulate ICT related issues.
It is also to be noted that some legal procurement provisions grant Lebanese products a priority over non-Lebanese products in the limit of 10%, provided that such products be determined by decrees taken in the Council of Ministers.
Many decrees determined Lebanese products that benefit from the above-mentioned priority, but none of said decrees mentioned ICT related products. Such priority rate of 10% was temporarily increased to 15% for three years by Legislative Decree number 127 dated 30 June 1977 and said three year period was later on continuously extended for consecutive three year periods by several laws.
The latest is law number 147 dated 29 October 1999, which extended the three-year period until 6 June 2002. Said law introduced for the first time Lebanese ICT products as products benefiting from the 15% rate priority and it is highly probable that the effect of such law be extended, as this has been the case since 1977.
Such priority for Lebanese ICT related products would highly affect the implementation of ICT Standards and Guidelines as to the recommended purchases procedures.