Judges’ Political Participation, Role and Responsibilities
Judges’ Political Participation, Role and Responsibilities
Friday, January 11,2008 06:47
By Duaa Abdul Raouf
The judicial independence and immunity don"t secure only justice and freedom for citizens.  It is also a main factor for protracting national sovereignty. This was realized by Egypt "s judges in their struggle for a judicial independence. Their political participation is currently debated among even fellow judges.
Ahmed Makki, deuty chief justice of the Court of Cassation sees that the judges should be on alert lest any one involve them in political conflicts which have previously distorted the image of great judges.
The judges are nowadays leading the nation, speak on behalf of all people and they are defending the future of the generations to come, said researcher Sherif Yunus who has an important study about the development of the judicial movement in Egypt.
Yunus added that if the judges maintained their struggle for freedom and democracy, the regime won"t continue humiliating the Egyptians.
Judge Mahmoud Al Khodairi, the deputy chief justice of the Court of Cassation- seen by the public opinion as representative of politics-leaning wing among Egyptian judges- says that the judges must participate in politics like everybody for the sake of the country. Al Khodairi excludes only joining parties or political movements, an activity which prohibited for the judges according to law.
Bahiyuddin Hassan, the director general of Cairo Center for Human Rights, sees that the judges relation with politics is a very sensitive issue and it is exploited, in most times, to distort the mage of the judges and to distort the judicial reforms which they demand.
Hassan adds that there is a sensitivity between the judge"s job and his political role. The executive authority wants the judges to remain away from politics and then asks them to supervise the election process, raising debates around the political role of the judges.
The aim from this is- according to hassan- to exclude the judges from exercising any of their political roles so that they don"t call for ending the state of emergency and other emergency related laws.
Bahiyuddin Hassan sees that the political role of the judges has two levels: The direct political level which is evident in the role of the Judges" Club through holding the judges general assembly and calling for canceling all emergency laws that may hinder any democratic development in the society. The indirect role is manifested in issuing judicial rulings that affect the decision-making process in the country.
Judge Ismail Al Basyouni became a chairman-elect of Alexandria judges club. He said that the last three years witnessed a political activity for judges who drew the ire of other authorities towards the judges when they hanged black flags on the club and held protest vigils.
He said that the judges should never stand in streets with their judicial positions, a job which late president Anwar Sadat was always proud of.
Al Basyouni pointed out that his plan in the coming period will include preserving the judicial independence, maintain the realized gains and improving the financial conditions of the judges. Al Basyouni confirmed that the club will not organize any protesting vigils and it will not get involved in politics.
It is crystal clear that are divided into two teams. A team adopts the principle of participating with popular and political powers to demand reform while the other team sees that the judges should remain out of the political conflict to keep their neutrality.
This division spawned a rift among the judges in the Judges" Club. However, these rifts aren"t the only obstacles that curb the judges efforts for a democratic development in Egypt to reach a mature and stable multiplicity.