At the end of a seminar entitled” Rejecting the appointment of women to judicial posts” which was held by
EOHR on Tuesday 16/3/2010 at its office, a number of judges, representatives of the parliament and human rights activists expressed their appreciation for the Egyptian State Council for its role in the protection of freedoms, expressing their hopes to appoint women in judicial posts in accordance with the regulations and rules of its General Assembly to achieve the principle of equality among citizens. Participants confirmed their rejection to interfere into judicial affairs or to violate its independency, and they called for appointing women to judicial posts through judges not through the executive power and the National Council For Women.
For his part, Mr. Hafez Abu Seda, chairman of EOHR, clarified that this issue was raised after the empowerment of women for their constitutional right as a citizen and became a judge in the Supreme Constitutional Court and exercised judicial work more than thirty women judges among the judges of Egypt. The State Council has already decided to appoint graduates of law faculties in the State Council with the same conditions applied for males. After the decision became irreversible and may not be challenged, graduates submitted their papers for the appointment and they are chosen as they scored degrees higher than males.
Abu Seada added that the rejection to appoint women to judicial posts is considered anti-constitutional legitimacy which refuses the distinguish among citizens on ethnic or gender grounds. Article 40 of the constitution provided for the full equality between man and woman and they are the same in rights and public duties before the law, there is no distinction between them on the grounds of sex, origin, language, religion or belief. Besides, the decision issued by district of Abdul Razek Al Sanhoury, Premier of State Council in 1953 with no mind appointing women as judges.
Abu Seada called upon all democratic forces and civil society organizations to abide by human and constitutional rights for Egyptian women and to uphold the principle of citizenship
which is based in the Constitution and all laws, where there is no single legislative text provides that the appointment of women in any other judicial authority or any judicial or legislative function, and respect for Egypt’s international obligations ratified by the Egyptian government since thirty years, and has become under that part of the legislative system of the country, notably the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
For his part, Judge. Ahmed Mekki, vice president of the Court of Cassation, confirmed in meetings and seminars of the Judges Club with the Ministry of Justice in 2002 that we didn’t refuse the appointment of women in judicial posts, despite the rejection of experts to this appointment. Also in the same year we published a special issue for judges’ magazine on the same topic. We agreed with the minister of justice that the appointment of women as judges should be preceded by setting some rules to transfer judges whether they are men or women and to determine the level of their residence and to choose a uniform for woman, however the minister said that” The issue will be confined to appointing one woman in the Constitutional Court for international considerations after the events of September 2001. “
Mekki stressed the need for a dialogue in an atmosphere not filled with discrimination against women, he indicated that the root of rights is the existence of independent judiciary, there is no guarantees without independent judiciary. The judicial power is the most nearest power for citizens’ spirits and the independence of judiciary will never come except from the opinion of its General Assembly. He called for the independence of judiciary through consultation.
Mekki expressed his hopes that woman assumes a role in the State Security Prosecution and Emergency State Security Courts and the military courts which try civilians and assistants for the Minister of Justice and all judicial courts if possible.
Dr. Sarwat Badawy, professor of constitutional law at Cairo University, clarified that the issue of the right of women to be appointed to judicial posts was stirred up for more than half a century, it is a very important issue on the constitutional, religious, theoretical and practical levels. So it is obvious that there are several different views, however the mass media handled the issue without full awareness of the issue’s background, the matter which raised the principle of equality and it is not a simple principle, the equality is an idea that has different dimensions from time to time and from system to another, therefore there is a need to determine the meaning of equality in appointing women to judicial posts.
Mr. Ahmed Abdul Hafiz, vice chairman of EOHR, confirmed that who justified the work of woman will conflict with family obligations and duties is the same who oppose the appointment of woman to judicial posts, pointing out that this pretext involves a dangerous cultural and social dimensions with regard to woman’s comprehensive look. He wondered, what is the hard work criterion that woman can’t afford!!, specially that woman became able to undertake all categories of work without exceptions, so why it is difficult for women to be appointed in judicial posts. Abdul Hafiz added that many sociology scientists confirmed that the work of women contributed to speed up children communication with society in early age through joining nurseries and schools and brought many positive attributes to the child’s personality.
Counselor . Samia Al Motaiam, vice-chairman of Administrative Prosecution Authority, confirmed that man and woman in society are integral and there is no conflict between them, however this case took a strange curve as rights are not taken by this way and women have to be appointed as judges. She wondered that woman do excellent work in laws study, so why she is not appointed in judicial posts!! and she is valid to work in State Council.
Dr. Ahmed Abu Baraka, member of the parliament, clarified that the case of appointing women as judges was drawn in a political way not for the sake of society, there are so many cases should be primary taken into account as they are concerned with the freedom of citizens and there is no relation between this issue and the dignity of woman as we are respecting woman and appreciate her value in the society, confirming that not all men are being appointed as judges, there should be for this position the availability of experience, values and principles, they are considered the final standard in this issue.