Egypt Independent

Deputy justice minister: Judicial draft law ready for approval

The judicial authority draft law is ready for President Mohamed Morsy’s approval, Deputy Justice Minister Zaghloul al-Balshy said Monday.

In an interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida, Balshy said Morsy has the option of signing the law into force himself or waiting for the new Parliament to pass it after new parliamentary are held, but added that the new Parliament should review the law in either case.

The new draft law came after Hossam al-Gheriany, a leading figure in the independent judiciary movement, was appointed president of the Court of Cassation and president of the Supreme Judicial Council last year. Gheriany formed a committee, chaired by current Justice Minister Ahmed Mekky, to amend Judicial Authority Law 142/2006.

In a July 2011 interview with Egypt Independent, Mekky said the changes to the law would limit the executive’s ability to intervene in judicial affairs and would give the judiciary the right to oversee prisons.

Balshy, in his comments to Al-Jarida, also addressed the Constituent Assembly, denying that any drafts of the constitution have included drafts on judicial independence.

“Judges agree on necessity of preserving judiciary’s independence in the new constitution,” he said.

He added that the military judiciary should not be addressed in the same constitutional article as the regular judiciary, but should instead be included in the article pertaining to the military.

“We refuse including the military judiciary, as it’s a special judiciary that goes under the umbrella of the military institution,” he said.

Commenting more broadly on the judiciary, Balshy said that institution doesn’t need to be purged as much as developed, adding that he had never hesitated to investigate any complaint filed against any judge since taking his post.

He said he would never allow interference in lawsuits reviewed by courts, and that investigations into former Court of Appeals President Abdel Moez Ibrahim’s role in the NGO funding case have concluded, but no decision has been made.