Egypt: Sisi extends control over judiciary

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ratified a law April 27 that will allow him to appoint head judges in the country's highest courts. The amended law, which was ratified when it was published in the official gazette, allows el-Sisi to chose one of three potential judges nominated by each court to be the head of that court. Previously, leadership passed to the most senior member of the court, and the president was expected to sign off on the leadership role in a process that was largely ceremonial. El-Sisi and supporters of the change insist that the move is necessary to strengthen his administration's authority as they tackle issues such as terrorism, but members of the Egyptian judiciary have resisted the change.

On April 26, the chairman of the Judges Club, a group with over 9,000 members of the judiciary in Egypt, issued a unified statement condemning the amendments. The statement was a response to the passing of the amendment in parliament, a vote that was contested by some officials who feel the change is an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers. The majority argued that the change is constitutional, and narrowly tailored to allow the judiciary to remain independent.

From Jurist, April 28. Used with permission.

  1. Egyptian dictatorship consolidates

    Sisi's move to extend control over the judiciary, coming with Egypt already under ememergency rule, also came days before the Cairo Criminal Court gave Muslim Brotherhood leader Wagdy Ghoneim a death sentence in absentia.  (Jurist) This is certainly a perverse irony, given that Mohamed Morsi's moves to extend control over the judiciary was a key grievance that motivated the 2013 revolution that ousted him and brought Morsi to power…