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Egypt: People’s Assembly Amends Law of 1996 on Military Judiciary

(May 8, 2012) On May 6, 2012, the Egyptian People's Assembly approved the abolishment of article 6 of the Law on the Military Judiciary. This article allowed the President of the Republic to refer civilians for trial before military courts. The deletion grants the right to the Military Prosecutor's Office to refer all cases involving civilians to the Civil General Prosecutor. Furthermore, the Assembly approved a revision of article 48 of the Law which provides the military judicial authority with sole jurisdiction over certain types of crimes cited in the Law, regardless of whether they were committed by a civilian or a member of the military.

According to a representative of Human Rights Watch, the amendment fails to protect civilians from being tried before military courts. Although the new text is designed to prevent the President from referring civilians to the military court, the spokesperson stated, the military retains its authority to try civilians by virtue of article 48 of the Law. (People's Assembly Approves Amendment of the Military Judiciary Law [in Arabic], ELAPH ELECTRONIC NEWSPAPER (May 6, 2012).)