SOP and Egyptian Executive’s Infringement
The separation of powers is fundamental to a democracy. The doctrine of the separation of powers (SOP) affords freedom from ‘tyranny’ of absolute power in government. The SOP is important in protecting citizens from the abuse of government power. This is partly achieved by the rule of law, a separate and independent judiciary, judicial review, and legislative or constitutional protection of civil rights. However, the situation in Egypt is different: The 25 Jan. Revolution (2011) and the ensuing developments uncovered shocking facts about the state of widespread penetration of the judiciary from within.
Post-Revolution Transformations in Egyptian Judiciary
It is sufficient to refer to the mock trial models and the politicized judgments issued against thousands of detainees to realize the major transformations that took place at the level of the relationship between the Judiciary and the Executive power in Egypt. These transformations reached a blunt state with the participation of an influential sector of judges in the scene of the military coup of July 3, 2013, both in its preparatory stages and in the subsequent stages where most heads of judicial bodies in Egypt, most notably the head of Supreme Constitutional Court who accepted his appointment as transitional President of the Republic upon a decision from the Minister of Defense at the time; and through the head of Supreme Judicial Council, who stood next to the generals blessing the moment of announcing the coup against the elected president, the constitution, and the elected bodies, up to the head of Judges’ Club who participated in instigating the demonstrations of 30 June, and led a demonstration including judges and public prosecution members towards the Tahrir Square with full disregard of Article 73 of Egypt’s Judiciary Act that prohibits judges from practicing politics and bans a judge sitting on a case from expressing political opinions.
The Executive’s control over Judiciary
After the coup d’état of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in 2013, the judiciary helped the regime to control political dissent, restrict civil liberties, and persecute its opponents. It even helped the regime to control the legislative power after the Supreme Constitutional Court dissolved the first elected parliament after the Jan. 25 Revolution. The early communications between the military junta and judges of the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) may explain the dramatic dissolution to the People’s Assembly (parliament, elected on November 28, 2011) two days before the second round of presidential elections (June 14, 2012). The SCC ruled that the Parliament was technically unconstitutional because one-third of the parliamentarians were illegally elected. According to the election law, one-third of parliamentary seats was to be reserved for independents. Based on this constitutional ruling, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces immediately dissolved the Parliament by decree. In fact, the SCAF had originally allowed political parties to run for those seats.
Egypt’s highest court demands confidentiality of its budget
During the work of the Constituent Assembly to draft the Egyptian Constitution in November 2012, the Supreme Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court called on the Assembly not to oblige it to disclose details of its budget according to what was then called a “one-figure budget” similar to that of the armed forces.
Supreme Judicial Council blesses the military coup
Head of the Supreme Judicial Council Hamid Abdullah on July 3, 2013, stood next to the army commanders and clerics while Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was announcing the military coup against the elected President, the Constitution, and all elected bodies. Moreover, Abdullah delivered a speech blessing the announcement of the coup and wishing the army commanders success in the next phase.
Voluntary participation of judges in supporting corruption and tyranny
There is a new phenomenon that emerged soon after the revolution of January 2011 and during the subsequent events and political developments, and became clearer after the coup in 2013 and the subsequent developments: This phenomenon is related to the voluntary participation of judges in supporting the corrupt and authoritarian governments that have prevailed in Egypt for decades, of which the judges themselves had suffered so much. This means that a radical shift has taken place in the positions of judges towards tyranny. The phenomenon of judicial volunteering to support tyranny has taken various forms since the transition period after the Jan. revolution up to the July 3 coup and after that to include all the joints of the justice system in Egypt starting from the Supreme Constitutional Court and the Supreme Judicial Council and through the Judges Club, up to the Ministry of Justice and the Public Prosecutor’s Office. This means that the judges’ moves at the time were not out of individual or sectoral orientations. Ironically, the movement of judges during that period was in support of the return of the old regime and the disruption and hindering of the course of the revolution.
Prominent judges lead political demonstrations
This scene appeared on 30 June 2013, where the head of the Judges Club, Ahmad Al-Zind, led – in a very strange scene – a march of judges to participate in the events demanding the president’s departure and calling for early presidential elections. Judges stood in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court headquarters, chanting and shouting through loudspeakers, while announcing their blessing of the demonstrations that took place that day.
The Judiciary’s complicity with the Executive’s violations
To demonstrate the suspicious relationship between the Executive authority and the judicial authority, it is sufficient to pointing to the silence maintained by the judiciary and their complicity with the regime regarding the phenomena of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, fabrication of charges and open remand to tens of thousands of detainees, up to the unjust and politicized executions and the confiscation of property, in disregard of the slightest consideration of any legal norms, religious values or even general human and ethical principles. Talk about these blatant phenomena and brutal judgments and condemning them have become widespread domestically and internationally, which shows to what extent the judiciary in Egypt has reached since 3 July 2013.
SOP and Egyptian Executive’s Infringement
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