Army articles approved by Constituent Assembly
Ahram Online, Wednesday 28 Nov 2012
The constitution drafting body has approved articles related to Egypt's armed forces

The Constituent Assembly approved in its session Wednesday articles 195,196,197 and 198 related to the Egyptian armed forces in the draft constitution.

Article 195 from the draft constitution states: "The Egyptian Armed Forces are owned by the people, its mission is to protect the country and to keep it and its territories safe. The State only has the right to found armed forces and it is banned for any person or party or authority to establish organised military or para-military troops. The Armed Forces will have a supreme council organised by the law."

Article 196 states: "The Minister of Defence is the General Commander of the Armed Forces and he is appointed from its officers."

Article 197 states: "The law organises the general mobilisation, the conditions of service, promotion and retiring in the Armed Forces. The military officers and personnel are being referred to the military judiciary only in administrative conflicts related to decisions issued in their cases."

Article 198 states: "The National Defence Council is founded and headed by the president of the state and includes in its membership the speakers of the parliament's chambers, the prime minister, the ministers of defence, foreign affairs, finance and interior, the head of general intelligence, head of military intelligence, the chief of staff and the commanders of armed forces branches."

Many political forces and parties have expressed their concern as well refusal of articles related to the armed forces, especially Article 198 on a proposed National Defence Council.

Parties like Strong Egypt accused the Constituent Assembly of copying Ali El-Salmi's suggested Supra-Constitutional Document of fall 2011 that political parties — including the Freedom and Justice Party — rejected on the basis that it placed the military above the state.

The assembly is still debating articles related to the right of the army to try civilians who harm the military.

The draft constitution is expected to be put to a final vote by the Assembly members on Thursday.

At least 40 liberal and leftist members have withdrawn from 100-member Islamist-dominated Assembly.