EOHR implores the president not to ratify the new Judicial authority law

April 27th, 2017 by Editor

 

 EOHR implores the president not to ratify the new Judicial authority law[1]

 The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) expresses its deep concern regarding parliament’s decision to amend Judicial authority law 46 of 1972, administrative prosecution law of 1958, the State Lawsuits Authority law of 1963 and law 47 of the state council. The amendments were to the methods by which the heads of judicial agencies are appointed. 

Parliament approved the amendments on April 26th 2017 and they simply state that the president appoints the heads of all of these agencies out of 3 nominees proposed by the supreme council of each agency. If the council fails to provide the nominees within 60 days the president may appoint a head judge of the seven oldest deputies in the agency.

EOHR sees these amendments as a threat to the principle of separation of powers, which is the main foundation of any democratic system in the world. The independence of the Judiciary is an agreed upon universal principal in democratic nations. The French, German, Italian and Japanese constitutions safeguard this principle, and hold in the highest regards in practice.

The Egyptian constitution also enshrines Judicial independence. Article 184 of the constitution says: The judiciary is independent. It is vested in the courts of justice of different types and degrees, which issue their judgments in accordance with the law. Its powers are defined by law. Interference in judicial affairs or in proceedings is a crime to which no statute of limitations may be applied. Article 186 of the same constitution says: Judges are independent, cannot be dismissed, are subject to no other authority but the law, and are equal in rights and duties. The conditions and procedures for their appointment, secondment, delegation and retirement are regulated by the law. It also regulates their disciplinary accountability. They may not be fully or partly delegated except to bodies and to perform tasks that

are identified by law, provided that all the foregoing maintains the independence and impartiality of the judiciary and judges and prevents conflicts of interest. The rights, duties and guarantees granted to them are specified by law.

EOHR believes that it’s clear that these amendments contradict the basic requirements of Judicial independence  that have been stipulated by Egypt’s constitution as well as international human rights conventions and treaties.

EOHR calls upon President Al Sisi to practice his constitutional rights and refrain from ratifying this law and return to the house of representatives for further review and amendment in accordance with international human rights law.

Dr. Hafez Abu Seada the president of EOHR said that the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary stipulated that the Judicial branch is separate from in executive and legislative counterparts and that its independence should not be infringed upon by the former. Abu Seada added that this new law shakes the balance between branches of government and allows the executive power to meddle in the affairs of the Judiciary which is a complete disregard to one of the main principles of a democratic system.

[1] This statement was published on the 27th of April 2017, and this is the literal English translation so its not updated. The president of Egypt did approve the law.

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