Chibli Mallat – Lebanon

Chibli Mallat was born in Beirut in 1960. After studies in Lebanon, France, the US and the UK, he taught law at the University of London for a decade, where he also served as Director of the Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law.

Chibli Mallat – Lebanon

He left London in 1995 to return to legal practise in Beirut as principal of Mallat Law Offices, a long-established law firm with a renewed focus on international law. He also pursued his academic career at Université Saint-Joseph, where he holds the first Jean Monnet Chair of European Law to be conferred by the European Union in the Middle East.

Also linked to our presentation of Iraq Initiative – European Colleague on January 3, 2006.

He has acted as counsel in a number of lead cases in Europe and the Middle East, most recently in the case brought against Ariel Sharon in Belgium. Professor Mallat is the author or editor of some twenty books, which appeared in several languages. He is active on a number of international boards, most recently in the Middle East Studies Forum at Yale law school, the advisory board of the Minority Rights Group based in London and the editorial board of Islamic law and society. His latest book, on Democracy in America, was published by Dar al-Nahar in Beirut in August 2001.

Chibli Mallat is a law professor at the University of St. Joseph in Beirut. He is an expert on Islamic law and the author of a book on the slain Iraqi cleric Mohammad Bakr al-Sadr, and he has assisted and advised the opposition to Saddam Hussein since before the first Gulf War. Mallat began working with opposition leaders from Najaf in the late 1980s and in 1991 helped found the International Committee for a Free Iraq (more than half of whose members ended up on the recently disbanded Iraqi Governing Council). In the mid-’90s, when the Iraqi opposition had been enfeebled by infighting, an abortive coup attempt, and the Kurdish civil war, Mallat brought together Ahmed Chalabi and two Iraqi Kurd leaders in Washington so that Iraqi dissidents could begin lobbying for the Iraqi Liberation Act, which was passed in 1998. In 1996, he formed Indict, an organization that has gathered evidence of Saddam’s crimes, with an eye toward an eventual trial.

Since the invasion of Iraq (which he says he did not support) Mallat has sharply criticized the American effort while energetically encouraging its goals. He remains supportive of Chalabi, favors the Wolfowitz faction in the Defense Department, and is a respected advocate of liberalization and the rule of law throughout the Middle East. (Read the interview, by Tim Cavanaugh, on online).

Third Annual Bernstein Lecturer Examines Patterns in Emerging Constitutions: “Strong moments in constitution-making often result from traumas,” observed Professor Chibli Mallat embarking on an analysis of the constitutions-in-progress of the European Union, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Mallat, the EU Jean Monnet Professor in Law and director of the Centre for the Study of the European Union at the Université Saint-Joseph in Beirut, Lebanon, delivered the Third Annual Herbert L. Bernstein Memorial Lecture in International and Comparative Law at Duke Law School on September 28 th.

“Nothing defines trauma for Afghanis and Iraqis more than war, internal and international, for over a quarter of a century, and their most lasting response, if war is to be transcended, will be a working constitution,” Mallat told a standing-room-only audience of students, faculty, and guests. He added that the EU itself is considered a triumph of Europe over two tragic World Wars and the Cold War.

A quest for lasting peace underscores all three nascent constitutions, as Mallat made clear. Several articles of the Afghani constitution mention “crimes against humanity”—in one context, as being a justification for finding the otherwise powerful president derelict in his duties—while the Preamble to the interim Iraqi constitution states that the people of Iraq “reject violence and coercion in all their forms, and particularly when used as instruments of governance.” A similar motivation lies behind the EU’s commitment to transnational “prosperity and good neighborliness,” as well as the Iraqi constitution’s open reference to federalism, he suggested.

“In Iraq, constitutionalism is forging ahead in the most delicate of all arrangements, that is the attempt for a constitution to be inclusive of two dominant and competing national identities—Kurdish and Arab—and two dominant and competing religious sects, Shi’i and Sunni Islam.” (Read more about this lecture on DUKE LAW).

Some of his many Publications:

Democracy in America, Beirut, Dar al-Nahar, September 2001. 200pp

Presidential Choices, Beirut 1998, published in Arabic at Dar al-Nahar (Al-ri’asa al-lubnaniyya bayn al-ams wal-ghad), French (Défis présidentiels), and English. ca 120pp

The Middle East into the 21st Century, Garnet, London June 1996, 270pp (paperback published in 1997; US edition in 1998; serialised in part in Arabic dailies). 270pp

The Renewal of Islamic Law: Muhamad Baqer as-Sadr, Najaf, and the Shi‘i International, Cambridge University Press (Middle East Library), 1993. 245pp. (Co-winner of the Middle East Studies Association Albert Hourani Prize for the most outstanding book in the field, 1994).

Arabic translation at Dar an-Nahar, Beirut published in 1998 as Tajdid al-Fiqh al-Islami (315 + 48 pp.), with an introduction to the Arab reader (pp.9-30) and an unpublished text of Sadr (Usul al-dustur al-islami, principles of an Islamic constitution).

Bahasa Indonesian translation, Mizan, Djakarta 2001.

Aventures à Beyrouth, (Children’s story illustrated by Tamer Mallat), Beirut, 1997. 70pp

An Introduction to Middle Eastern Law (IMEL, published serially in academic journals, see infra)
Al-Mutanabbi: a critical edition for the 21st century (Dar al-Nahar, 2004)

L’Union Européenne et le Moyen-Orient: Etat des Lieux, Beirut, Presses de l’Université Saint Joseph, 2004 in press, ca 300 pp

Dossier sur l’Abolition de la Peine de Mort, Beirut, Université Saint-Joseph, 2003, 102 pp

Tamer Mallat, Ahkam, Facsimile edition of 19th century judgments, Beirut, 1999, 550 pp

Some volumes of the Yearbook of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law

And any articles worldwide.


his own arabic website;


The Arab-Israeli Accords;


The Palestine Monitor;

From the South of Lebanon;

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