President to appoint Heads of Courts of Appeal

Daily News Egypt
4 Min Read
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (AFP PHOTO)
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi  (AFP PHOTO)
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

By Jihad Abaza

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a presidential decree Tuesday giving the president the right to appoint the heads of the different Courts of Appeal starting 1 July, said presidential spokesman Ihab Badawi.

This decision applies with regards to all eight Courts of Appeal throughout the country. More recently, judicial consultant Ayman Mahmoud Kamel Abbas was appointed the head of the Cairo Court of Appeals, while judicial consultant Magdy Mounir Damyan was appointed the Head of the Alexandria Court of Appeals.

The decision came parallel to another presidential decree which signals the return of the presidential appointment of university deans and chairmen. Since the January 2011 revolution, appointment of university deans and chairmen has come through an electoral process.

Human rights lawyer Mohamed Zare’ criticised the decision, saying it would “have undesirable effects for the judges and for judicial independence. Now the decision won’t be based on experience or credibility, and candidates will make it a priority to please whoever holds presidential powers.”

Zare’ added: “The president may make the best decisions in the world, but the authority this gives him creates an imbalance in the powers of the state institutions. This means that the president will have more authority, and can easily [meddle] in judicial affairs. The executive authority will withhold issues that pertain to justice.”

Before this decision the heads of the Courts of Appeal were appointed on the basis of experience and number of years working in the field, with the approval of the Minister of Justice. The Minister of Justice was appointed by the president.

“While [before this], there might have been indirect presidential interference and decision-making from behind the curtains, this decision shows presidential interference in its most direct form,” Zare’ said.

Judicial consultant Abdallah Fatthi, who is the vice chairman of the Court of Cassation and the head of the Independent Judges Club, said that the decision “does not make any difference in the tool of appointment. This is not like the decision made in regards to the Universities.”

“This is only a formal decision. The heads of the eight Courts of Appeal are still based on years of experience, with the most experienced becoming the head of the Cairo Court of Appeals, the second most experienced becoming the head of the Alexandria Court of Appeals, and so on. Because it is a prestigious position, the president only reaffirms the decision into a executive decision,” said Fatthi.

Fatthi added that because Mahmoud Saber, the previous head of the Cairo Court of Appeals, was appointed Minister of Justice, Abbas and the rest of the heads were upgraded. The Courts of Appeal are located in Cairo, Alexandria, Tanta, Mansoura, Ismailia, Beni Soueif, Assyout, and Qana.

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