Contentious judiciary law should be shelved: Hossam El-Gheriany

Ahram Online, Friday 26 Apr 2013

Head of state body the National Council for Human Rights argued that the law should be discussed by the House of Representatives once it is elected

Hossam El-Gheriany
Head of the National Council for Human Rights Hossam El Gheriany (Photo: reuters)

Head of state body the National Council for Human Rights Hossam El-Gheriany requested on Friday that the discussion of the proposed judicial authority law be postponed until the elections for the House of Representatives, Ahram’s Arabic language news website reported.

The Shura Council, the upper house of Egypt’s parliament, currently holds legislative powers after the lower house, the People’s Assembly, was dissolved by a court verdict last year. Elections for a new lower house, renamed the House of Representatives, will be held this year.

In a statement, El-Gheriany requested that the proposed law, which he described as "debatable," be discussed another time in the House of Representatives.

El-Gheriany said that the proposed judicial authority law needs "calm discussion."

Earlier on Wednesday, Islamist MPs in the Shura Council's legislative and constitutional affairs committee green-lit potential amendments to the controversial judicial authority law.

The Freedom and Justice Party's amendment of the law focuses on cutting the age of retirement for judges from 70 to 60, a measure that has been strongly criticised by many judges.

Mohamed Touson, chairman of the committee and a leading official of the FJP, indicated that the amendments submitted by the three Islamist-oriented political parties aim to make sure that the selection of the prosecutor-general is in line with the newly-promulgated constitution; that members of all judicial authorities are on equal footing in terms of salaries and financial incentives; and that the Supreme Judicial Council assumes full control of setting the criterion for appointing judges in terms of efficiency and qualifications and regulating the full and part-time employment of some judges by certain government authorities.

Omar El-Sherif, deputy justice minister and the government's representative, told chairman of the Shura Council Ahmed Fahmi on Monday that "upon the orders of Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki [who offered his resignation on Sunday, but has yet to either be accepted or rejected], I do not intend to attend any committee meetings designed to discuss proposed amendments to the judicial authority law."

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