Egypt’s judges will not oversee the referendum on the draft constitution scheduled for Saturday, the national Judges’ Club said Tuesday.
“Over 90 per cent of judges will boycott the referendum. Our independence has been tampered with and we cannot perform our duties,” said national Judges’ Club Chairman Ahmed El-Zend.
Judges from 18 local Judges’ Clubs, in addition to over 500 judges from Cairo, announced their intention to boycott the referendum in a Tuesday press conference held at the headquarters of the national club.
Most clubs reported a vote of over 90 per cent in favour of the boycott, with the lowest being 88 per cent in Mahala.
El-Zend said that the nationwide court strike was the response to President Mohamed Morsy’s 22 November constitutional decree granting him sweeping new powers, not the referendum boycott.
He added that boycotting the referendum came in response to the Constituent Assembly producing an unbalanced constitution that does not represent the Egyptian people, as such the decision to boycott is not affected by Morsy’s decision to rescind the decree.
He said the second constitutional decree of 8 December was just as unacceptable as the first one.
“Both constitutional decrees limit judicial independence. In fact, the second one is even worse since it allows for retrials even if the Cassation Court [Egypt’s highest court] makes a ruling on the matter, thus making a mockery out of court rulings.