Judges divided over judicial power materials in draft constitution

Judges have differed on the response of the Committee of 50 to the judiciary and public prosecution´s demands regarding the new draft constitution. Some welcomed the articles on assigning the Supreme Judicial Council with choosing the public prosecutor, setting a single figure for judicial bodies´ budgets, and not amending the law on the judicial authority without the consent of two-thirds of the members of parliament, while others felt the committee ignored the issue of setting a retirement age for judges.
“The committee has maintained the relationship between the three state authorities and the independence of the judiciary,” said Counselor Mahmoud Helmi al-Sherif, spokesperson for Egypt’s Judges Club.
Counselor Abdallah Fathy, the club’s first under secretary, said that the club is still discussing the draft constitution. “I believe the Supreme Judicial Council should first approve any amendment to the articles of the judiciary,” he said.
Counselor Abdel Sattar Imam, head of the Menoufia Judges Club, said judges were hoping for a special budget for the judiciary estimated as a percentage of GNP or the state budget so as to prevent interference by other authorities in judicial affairs. He added that it is the executive branch that will determine the budget.
He approved of the articles on the state being obliged to respect and carry out verdicts.
Regarding the article on lawyers, Imam considered it ambiguous. “What does it mean that lawyers help judges achieve justice,” he asked. “And what does legal protection for lawyers mean and how?”
He demanded a clear formulation of articles so as to avoid problems in preparing the laws that implement the provisions of the constitution.
Edited translation from Al-Masr Al-Youm

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