RN Campaign to Save the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court

17/05/2012

The Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt

Right to Nonviolence is gravely concerned by the systematic attempts to undermine the most respected judicial institution of Egypt, the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC). Joined by leading advisory members, the Chairman of RN, Professor Chibli Mallat, issued the following statement:

In the past few days, the Egyptian Parliament has been conducting a policy that constitutes in RN’s opinion an existential threat to the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC). It initiated legislation that calls for:

1) the dissolution of the current SCC and appointment of new judges;

2) the prohibition of the court from reaching a decision leading to the dissolution of parliament; and

3) the exemption of any law that attains a three-quarters parliamentary majority from being subject to judicial review.

The first proposal simply destroys the court. The second proposal flies in the face of the SCC’s established precedents, which it developed in the teeth of the Mubarak dictatorship over three decades. The third proposal makes the rule of constitutional law a mockery by introducing alleged supermajorities in the Iranian religious dictatorship tradition that undermined any review by the corresponding council that held much promise in the early days after the Shah’s removal and was emptied from meaning by a similar device.

This legislative action constitutes a clearly alarming misuse of majority power against a state institution that is the pride of the Egyptian people through its darkest moments under Mubarak’s rule. Reflecting contempt for the need for rule of law and in violation of fundamental constitutional principles, the attack on the SCC—respected domestically and internationally for its long-standing tradition of courage and independence—constitutes one of the most dangerous threats to date to the Revolution that demanded the end of the dictatorship in 2011.

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