Thursday, January 5, 2017

The new judicial authorities draft law : Back to the judges' anger

It seems that it is history repeating in a very a bad way, it is worse than what happened before in 2006.
Recently, Egypt’s House of Representatives proposed a draft law to amend the current Judicial authority that will kill what is known as the separation between authorities for real in the country if it is passed and ratified.
Proposed by a member of the Pro-regime “Support Egypt” Parliamentary bloc, the new draft law stipulates that the President chooses and appoints the heads of the four major judicial authorities in Egypt: The cassation court, the State council, The state lawsuits authority and the administrative prosecution authority.
In the current law’s article no.44, the heads of those authorities are chosen based on seniority by their general assemblies. The court presents the name of its senior judge as its head to the president and he just ratifies without rejecting or choosing another one.
In the proposed draft, the Supreme council of judiciary will present three names of senior judges from those authorities to the president and he/she will choose among them without any clear standards.
All the judicial authorities and clubs are rejecting the draft law which was discussed in December quietly somehow in the House of Representatives.
Egypt's Court of Cassation
The Cassation court in Cairo 
The MP who proposed that draft law says it is based on Constitution article no.186 that stipulates the judges’ conditions and procedures for their appointment, secondment, delegation and retirement are regulated by the law.
On 25 December, the parliament decided to send the draft law to the 4 judicial authorities mentioned above in addition to the Supreme council of judiciary to know their opinion for consultation only in accordance with the Constitution article no.185 within ten days.
If those authorities do not answer back within ten days, the parliament will go on and discuss it.
The answer of the judicial authorities or rather judges is crystal clear, they completely reject the draft law and consider it as an attack on the separation of powers in Egypt as well the independence of the judiciary.
On the same day, Egypt’s Judges club said in a statement that that draft law was like an attack against the judiciary independence in the country. The Judges club also hinted out that the draft law that constitution stipulates on the independence of the judiciary in Egypt in article 185.

The Club revealed that it was preparing its own draft Judiciary authorities law adding that it was interesting to find the proposed draft law ignored many issues in the current law and focused on appointing the heads of the courts only.
It is like the 2006 standoff between Mubarak regime and the Judges club is back but unfortunately, I do not think we have the same Judges club of that year.
Needless to say, the current regime got rid of all the icons and big names that led the Judges uprising in 2006 starting either by early retirement or prison
Still, the current Judges’ anger “it has not reached to uprising yet” is not led by the Judges club but rather the State Council.
The State council is leading the battle which is growing by the day with all what is happening currently. This needs a separate post.

The state council club also issued a statement slamming the draft law describing what is happening now as an unprecedented attack on the independence of the judiciary.
“This attack on the independence of the judiciary is more dangerous than the attack of the Muslim Brotherhood on the judiciary during the rule of Mohamed Morsi” The statement issued by the State council club on 28 December read.
The State council club revealed that the State council already presented a law to amend its administrative courts system and the parliament approved it in August 2016.
Up till now, this law has not been ratified by the president for some reason.
The council is amazed by the speed on how the controversial draft law found its way in the parliament.
The council club explained in its statement how this draft law will create division among the judges who will seek the approval and support of presidency over their independence to be chosen by the president.

Yes, this draft law blows up both the separation of powers in Egypt and the independence of the judiciary.
I noticed that the proposed law only chose the cassation court, the state council, the state lawsuits authority and the administrative prosecution, the judicial authorities that challenge the government’s decisions, decrees as well the rulings of the court of First instance and the court of appeal.
More to follow and to speak about this draft and believe me it is better to stop here.
 I got flu and we got islands fights, suicide, corruption and they end up at the State council and its courts eventually just like this dangerous law.

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