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Egypt parliament considers judicial reform bill

[JURIST] The Egyptian Parliament [official website] has sent an anticipated judicial reform bill prepared by the Ministry of Justice back to Egypt's Cabinet to iron out controversial points, including the Justice Ministry's right to assess the performance of judges, the role of the Supreme Judiciary Council (SJC) in supervising judges, and government control over SJC appointments. Reformist judges have criticized the draft bill, saying it does not give them enough judicial independence and proclaiming they will continue to push for judicial freedom from government control. If the Cabinet fixes the points of contention in the draft bill, it will go to Egypt's upper level of parliament, the Shura Council, and the People's Assembly for approval. The Cabinet will meet Wednesday in an unusual session to approve the final text [AKI report].

The judicial reform bill comes in response to several protests organized primarily to support two judges who were put before a disciplinary panel [JURIST report] for revealing that some of their colleagues had allowed fraud [JURIST report] in last November's parliamentary elections. Hisham el-Bastawisi, one of the two judges put before the disciplinary panel, dismisses the draft bill as a ruse, saying "the government doesn't want judicial reform, or reform of any kind...They're just trying to fool us with this new draft law." IPS has more.

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