The ICJ today called on the Egyptian authorities to refrain from its attacks against independent judges and reinstate all those that have been removed from office following arbitrary and unfair disciplinary proceedings.
The call came as the ICJ released a legal briefing assessing the compliance of the mass disciplinary proceedings in the “the July 2013 Statement case” with international standards on judicial independence and due process.
Upholding a decision by the Disciplinary Board in the “July 2013 Statement case”, the Supreme Disciplinary Board found that 31 judges were “unfit” to hold judicial office for endorsing a public statement following the ousting of President Morsi and the seizure of power by the Military.
The Statement called for the 2012 Constitution to be restored, for a dialogue between all stakeholders to be established within the framework of constitutional legitimacy, and for the right to peaceful demonstration to be respected.
“The July 2013 Statement was a legitimate exercise, by the concerned judges, of their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association,” said Saïd Benarbia, ICJ MENA Director.
“Removing these judges from office for exercising such rights and following mass, arbitrary, and unfair proceedings runs counter to Egypt’s obligations under international law to respect and observe the independence of the judiciary,” he added.
According to international standards, judges can only be removed for reasons of incapacity or behaviour that renders them unfit to discharge their duties after a fair hearing before an independent and impartial body.
The ICJ briefing analyses the numerous procedural and substantive flaws that marred the July 2013 Statement Case, including violations of the judges’ rights to freedom of expression and assembly, to a fair hearing before an independent and impartial body, and to equality of arms.
According to the study, the judges’ rights of defence were also undermined in a variety of ways, including by the failure to give judges prior and adequate notice of the hearings and access to the case file in advance of the hearings.
“Because of the litany of violations that marred the July 2013 Statement Case, the ICJ calls on the Egyptian authorities to reverse the decisions of the Supreme Disciplinary Board, to reinstate the judges that have been arbitrarily and unfairly removed from office, to refrain from attacks against the judiciary, and to put an immediate end to its campaign to silence independent judges,” Benarbia added.
Saïd Benarbia, ICJ Director of the ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme, t: +41 22 979 38 17, e: said.benarbia(a)icj.org
Egypt-Attacks on judges-News-Press release-2017-ARA (Press release in Arabic, PDF)
Egypt-attacks-on-judges-Advocacy-Analysis brief-2017-ENG (Analysis brief in English, PDF)
Egypt-attacks-on-judges-Advocacy-Analysis brief-2017-ARA (Analysis brief in Arabic, PDF)AdvocacyAnalysis briefsNewsPress releases