Internal Security Forces (ISF)/Forces de Sécurité
Intérieure(FSI) is the national police and security force of
Modern police were established in Lebanon
in 1861, with creation of the Gendarmerie
. In April 2005, Gen Ashraf Rifi
became head of the ISF, replacing
Gen Ali Hajj.
Lebanon did not have a police organization, in the modern and legal
meaning, before the creation of the Lebanese Gendarmerie by virtue
of the 1861 protocol. Before that year, the Lebanese Emirs, with
the help of their armed men, were in charge of policing, law
enforcement and tax-collection.
The mandate of Emir Fakhreddine II
Emir Fakhreddine II
modern Lebanese State. After a rough childhood, he acceded in 1589
and started working to unify the country by destroying independent,
objecting Lebanese families. To keep order and execute the usual
police missions, the Emir created a group of armed men, “Zelems”,
i.e., direct servants. There were also other little groups of
“Zelems” for feudal lords. when internal disorders threatened his
security, the Emir relied on professional elements, the “Sikmans,”
who were foreign mercenaries. Nevertheless, he avoided the
participation of “Bedouins.”
The law No.17 , of September 6th ,1990 defines the I.S.F as a
public armed forces whose jurisdiction covers the whole Lebanese
territory and the territorial waters and air .
The I.S.F missions are:
- The administrative police:
- Keeps order and security.
- Assures public order.
- Protects people and properties.
- Assures the execution of law and legal rules.
- protects freedom within the limits of law.
- The Judicial police:
- Executes the charges and rogatory letters .
- Executes the judicial judgments and warrants.
- Achieves the missions of the judicial police.
- In other fields:
- Supports the public authorities in carrying out their duties
- Guards the public administration, pursuant to the decision of
the competent authorities.
- Guards and administrates prisons when need be.
- Guards the diplomatic missions in Lebanon.
According to article (2) of the same law, the I.S.F are subject to
the authority of the Minister of the Interior and to the military
laws and rules with the exclusion of the exception defined by other
laws and rules.
In the course of a mission, the I.S.F. may:
- Request identity documents
- Search people
- Arresting people (in application of a legal judgment or warrant
or immediately in the act )
- Enter houses:
- At night
- In cases of danger like fire or flood
- When calls of help emanate from the house
- for searching in emergency cases
- In the daytime:
- Where entry is permitted during night
- To investigate a crime perpetrated in the house
- To search the house of a suspect
- To execute judicial warrants and decisions
- Seize prohibited substances
- Establish check-points
- Use arms in self defense, when other means are exhausted, or
based on administrative authority, or to:
- Avoid being disarmed
- Defend places subject to their guard.
- Preserve custody over persons in their charge or to protect
- Arrest suspected persons or those who run and ignore an order
- Stop vehicles that try to avoid stopping at a check point
Duties of the I.S.F agents
They are subject to the general obligations of the civil servants,
and to the sanctions and sanction aggravations, stipulated in the
law and applied if they commit an offense wile in service. Specific
- Rescue people from danger
- Report crimes they witness or hear of
- Safeguard public and private property, especially in case of
catastrophes or accident
- Avoid disturbing people's privacy, except as the law cases
- Avoid unnecessary violence
- Preserve professional secrecy