Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1351, (6 - 12 July 2017)
Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Issue 1351, (6 - 12 July 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Judicial bodies heads appointed

The heads of three judicial bodies have been sworn in, reports Mona El-Nahhas


Al-Sisi with the newly-appointed heads of judicial bodies on Saturday
Al-Sisi with the newly-appointed heads of judicial bodies on Saturday

The new heads of three judicial bodies took the constitutional oath on Saturday, two days after President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi announced their appointment.

Judge Magdi Abul-Ela will chair the Cassation Court and the Supreme Judiciary Council, judge Hussein Abdou Khalil the State Litigation Authority (the body representing the state in lawsuits slapped against it) and female judge Rashida Mohamed Anwar the Administrative Prosecution Authority.

During the ceremony, Al-Sisi granted former chairmen who reached the age of retirement the state medal of first class out of appreciation “to the efforts they exerted and the responsibility they shouldered in achieving justice and applying the law”, a statement issued by the presidency said.

Al-Sisi is yet to appoint a new head of the State Council, the fourth judicial body whose current chairman, Mohamed Massoud, will retire on 18 July.

The current appointments are the first application of the controversial Judicial Bodies Law ratified by the president in April.

Under the new law, each judicial body is obliged to send the names of three nominees for the chair to the presidency. The president has the sole right to decide who to appoint. If the names of the nominees are not submitted the president has the right to choose the new head out of the seven previous deputies of the authority.

Prior to the law’s passage, seniority was the sole criterion for appointing heads of judicial bodies, with the president simply endorsing the selection of the general assembly of each authority. That criterion does no longer exist. Abul-Ela and Hamza, both appointed by Al-Sisi, are not the oldest deputies of their judicial authorities.

For months, the law angered judges because it gave the executive authority the right to interfere in judiciary affairs, as such undermining the principle of powers of separation guaranteed by the constitution.

Out of the four judicial bodies, the State Council was the only authority that refrained from applying the Judicial Bodies Law. In a step viewed as insistence on the principle of seniority, the State Council sent the name of just one nominee, Yehia Dakrouri, the oldest deputy chairman.

Dakrouri is widely known as the veteran judge who last year passed a ruling of Egypt’s ownership of Tiran and Sanafir islands.

Sources close to judicial circles claim the law mainly targets Dakrouri whose ruling was against the ceding of the two islands.

This may explain why the State Council protested against the law.

Judicial sources say the possibility of Dakrouri getting the chair is weak. If he is not appointed, Dakrouri has the right to contest the presidential decree before the administrative judiciary.

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