Friday, November 17, 2006

Egypt's Judges Finally Resort to the European Commission to Solve Problems with Government

Egypt’s judges at the close of their general assembly meeting agreed on meeting a delegation representing the European commission to discuss their demands that they have submitted to the minister of justice, guarantees for full judicial independence and their right to fully supervise and monitor the country's elections.

Around 2500 judges attended the general assembly meeting at their club (association) Friday noon. The meetings continued until 6 PM. Board renewal elections were conducted and 5 new members were elected. The total number of board members is 14.

Reformers led by Counselor Zakaria Abdel Aziz won the renewal elections.

In a statement by the judges club said “we agree on meeting the European Commission.” The meeting will run in Arabic, allowing official entities to attend and participate if they want.

The statement stressed that Egypt’s judges are not complaining about their government to any party and that they are not financed by foreign parties and that they do not have demands from external entities.

The Egyptian judges are asking for solving the problem between Judges’ Club and the Minister of Justice, Mamdouh Mar’ee. The minister stopped all financial allocations of the Judges Club. Among other pending problems are the amendments made to the judiciary authority law that were supposed to guarantee judiciary independence.

The judges in their statement called on the government to release the money of their health and social care funds.

Counselor Mahmoud Mekky in his statements to the press following the general assembly meeting said “there is no problem meeting with the EU Commission” adding that the discussions will not address the political issues but will focus on the judiciary matters only.

The statement warned against the dangers of amending article 88 of the constitution concerned with the judiciary supervision on elections and referendums.

The Shura Council prepared a report last September calling for amending article 88 stating that if the judges monitor elections that will prevent them from doing their work properly in courts!

The claim was rejected by Counselor Ahmed Saber, Secretary General of the Club. He confirmed that the Judges are committed to stopping any rigging to any future elections, adding that referendums expected on the constitutional amendments will be under the full supervision of the judges.

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