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Egypt's High Court magistrates condemn justice minister's criticism of legal verdicts

By-Ahram | 17 August 2012

 The general assembly of Egypt's High Constitutional Court (HCC) released a statement on Wednesday criticising claims by Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki that the court’s recent verdicts had been "politically motivated."

The statement condemned what it described as the "coordinated media campaign" intended to taint the court's reputation, adding that Mekki’'s statements represented a violation of judicial independence and the principle of the separation of power.
 
The recently appointed justice minister on Wednesday made statements to Egyptian state daily Al-Ahram in which he voiced disapproval of the HCC's "interference in politics," in reference to a court verdict in mid-June deeming Egypt's democratically-elected People's Assembly (the lower house of parliament) unconstitutional.
 
Mekki further opined that the court – in light of the political situation at the time – should have postponed cases related to parliament, along with other politically-charged cases.
 
The HCC later described Mekki's comments as "unacceptable interference" in the court's work, insisting that all the court verdicts were based on constitutional legitimacy and refuting claims they were politically motivated.
 
The court also called Mekki’s statements "contradictory," since they called on the HCC to remain apolitical while also asserting that the court "should have considered the political situation" when issuing its verdict.
 
Within the last year, the HCC has ruled on several cases of considerable political import. For instance, the court ruled against the constitutionality of the People's Assembly (which led to the assembly's dissolution) and against the constitutionality of a proposed 'disenfranchisement law' that would have banned former regime officials from participating in politics.  
 
The court has yet to rule on the constitutionality of the Shura Council (parliament's upper, consultative house) and on the constitutionality of Egypt's Constituent Assembly, tasked with drafting a new constitution. 
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