FILE – Gavel in a courtroom – Flickr/Joe Gratz
CAIRO – 24 May 2019: To constitutionalize President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s 2017 move that broadened his power in regards to the judiciary authority, the Legislative Committee of the House of Representatives (the lower house of parliament) approved new amendments to judicial laws regulating the highest judicial authorities.
In 2017, President Sisi issued a decree to have the right to appoint the heads of highest judicial bodies. At that time, his move was protested by Egypt’s supreme judicial bodies as it violates the judicial power independence, which was guaranteed by the constitution. However the recently-approved amendments to the constitution gave the president this constitutionalized right.
As per the debatable amendments the president will choose one out of seven oldest judges to be the chairperson of any highest judicial body for a four-year term; the chosen judge shall be deputies of the outgoing president of the judicial body.
Following its approval, the parliament legislative committee would referred the new drafts to the judicial laws regulating the highest judicial authorities to Egypt’s Highest Judicial Council and to the State Council for their advisory opinion on the new amendments.
“In accordance with the new amendments to the constitution, which were approved by the House of Representatives last month, new amendments should be conducted to the [applicable] laws regulating the judicial bodies,” said head of the Supreme Constitutional Court.
As per the new drafts, the president has the right to appoint heads of the Court of Cassation, the state’s attorney general, the Administrative Prosecution Authority, the Egyptian State Lawsuits Authority, the Military Prosecution. As for appointing the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, the president will choose one out of five oldest judges at the court for its presidency.
Additional reporting by Hoda Abo Bakr