Assembly considers including military judges in civilian judiciary

Nada Hussein Rashwan, Monday 10 Sep 2012

A delegation from Egypt's Constituent Assembly will visit military judiciary headquarters amid rifts around whether military judicial structures should be included within civilian judiciary

Assembly considers including military judges in civilian judiciary
gypt's Major General Mamdouh Shahin, a member of the ruling military council, talks during a press conference at the military media center in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, July 12 2011 (Photo: AP)

A delegation of members of the Constituent Assembly’s system of governance committee will visit the military judiciary headquarters to examine the working procedures of the body, including the military prosecution division.

The delegation's visit comes as response to a suggestion posed by Major General Mamdouh Shahin, member of the Constituent Assembly and legal affairs expert in the military council, and Major General Magd El-Din Barakat, representative of the military prosecution in the Constituent Assembly.

The suggestion comes amid a rift within the Constituent Assembly's governance committee about a proposition to include the military judiciary under the judiciary mandate in the Constituent Assembly.

Two weeks ago, the committee members settled the disagreement by preparing to send two draft proposals to be voted upon in the Constituent Assembly plenary; one that includes the military judiciary under the judicial mandate, and one that keeps them separated as they currently are, following the 1971 constitution.

Senior judicial figures and judiciary representatives in the Constituent Assembly strongly oppose the inclusion of the military judiciary within the wider judicial mandate, on the grounds that it represents an infringement on the independence of the judicial authority by military authorities.

Head of the Constituent Assembly Judge Hossam El-Gheriany denied that the assembly has already approved the proposal.

“The military authority has had a bitter past… due to  its subjection of civilians to military trials for charges that are unrelated to the armed forces. I do not think that a Constituent Assembly that is responsible for preparing a post-revolution constitution could do so. No matter how much we discuss it, the military judiciary will always be under the mandate of the military authority only,” said El-Gheriany last Wednesday in reference to the issue.

Egypt's contentious Constituent Assembly still faces the risk of being dissolved by court order in an ongoing lawsuit on grounds that it was drawn up by the now-dissolved People's Assembly, the lower house of Egypt's parliament.

If the court declares the assembly unconstitutional, it will be the second Constituent Assembly to be declared null and void by a court ruling this year. The first assembly, elected by the Islamist-led parliament, was dissolved when a court rendered it unconstitutional in April.

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