Thursday,20 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1345, (18 - 24 May 2017)
Thursday,20 September, 2018
Issue 1345, (18 - 24 May 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Expediting justice

In amending the Criminal Procedural Law, Egypt took a positive step forward, writes Sarwat Abdel-Shahid

In the judicial reform scheme adopted by the government, the Egyptian legislator eventually considered the crucial importance of amending the Criminal Procedural Law, especially concerning judgements in absentia. On 27 April 2017, President Al-Sisi issued Law No 11 of the year 2017, including among its provisions Article 8 that cancels Article 388 of the Criminal Procedural Law, pursuant to which there was failure to provide legal representation for defendants, in absentia, in criminal trials and interrogations, unless the defendant is physically present.

The amendments also included that if a judgement is issued in absentia against any defendant, his/her lawyer can ask the court to reopen the proceedings before a new circuit and submit his/her defence without the need for the accused person’s physical appearance, thus the judgement rendered in this case is not “in absentia”.

The foregoing amendments are deemed a courageous step towards realising “quick justice” which will be followed by other future amendments that will be introduced to the said law, as recently announced by the cabinet.

On 5 March 2015, I published an article in Al-Ahram Weekly in which I urged the legislature to pursue the abovementioned amendments after highlighting the defects and bad implications arising out of keeping Article 388 of the Criminal Procedural Law since 1950, despite the fact that most countries cancelled this provision, including France from which Article 388 was copied. In my published article, I also explained how this provision is unconstitutional and contradicts international conventions to which Egypt is a party.

The writer is former Conesil d’État Judge and lawyer of the Supreme Court.

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