Judges have declared their intention to begin an open-ended sit-in at the High Court building in protest of the Shura Council discussing amendments to the judiciary law.
Young judges and prosecutors will go to their jobs in the morning then participate in a sit-in at the High Court building in the afternoon until the upper house of parliament ceases its attempts to amend the law, Judges’ Club President Ahmed Al-Zind announced at a Tuesday press conference.
The decision came from the Judges’ Club’s legal defence and youth committees and was approved by the club leadership, he said.
Al-Zind announced the sit-in following a meeting between the club and the Supreme Judiciary Council (SJC) where the two bodies agreed that any amendments to the Judiciary Law must first be approved by all judges through the general assemblies of judicial bodies, not just the leadership councils of such bodies.
The Shura Council referred the proposed amendments to its Committee on Constitutional and Legislative Affairs on Saturday. Speaker of the council, Ahmed Fahmy, stressed that the legislative body would not encroach on the independence of the judiciary.
The presidency had previously attempted to calm the polarisation surrounding the judiciary law amendments by calling for a Justice Conference to discuss judicial reform as it related to the proposed amendments. However, the Judges’ Club announced it would boycott the conference while the SJC decided it would stop preparations for the conference.
The possible changes to the judiciary law mark a continuation of tensions between Egypt’s judicial, executive and legislative bodies, which took root in President Mohamed Morsi’s constitutional decree in November that ousted Prosecutor General Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud and appointed Tala’at Abdullah in his place.
The decree also called for the retrial of Mubarak-era killing of protesters, and other aspects interpreted by the judiciary as an infringement on their independence.