Lawyers of The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights succeeded in obtaining a ruling from the administrative court, first circuit , to suspend reviewing the case 33151/65jy and refer it to the supreme constitutional court to decide on the constitutionality of article #48 of the military tribunals law #125/1966 and its amendments.
Lawyers of The Egyptian Center have earlier challenged the constitutionality of article #48, as it opens the door wide to trying civilians before military courts that lack all proper proceedings and all wastes all rights and freedoms of civilians to stand before their natural judge.
The Center argued that article #48 grants military judiciary the authority to decide whether it is competent or not. This article is contrary to articles 167, 183 of the ’71 constitution and articles 46,47,48,49,50,51 of the constitutional declaration issued on 30/3/2011 which authorizes the legislator to found judicial institutes . The legislator is not to delegate this authority to military courts to decide their own jurisdiction. This would be encroaching on constitutional rights of citizens and wasting guarantees of fair trials.
The Egyptian Center submitted the appeal #33151/65jy to the administrative court to challenge trying civilians before military courts in the case 244/2011 ,military felonies east. The court sentenced 28 citizens and demonstrators to prison for demonstrating from March 3rd -9th ,2011.
The significance of referring article #48 to constitutional court is that the legislator specified limited cases for trying civilians before military court as in articles 5 – 8 bis of the military courts law #125/1966. Far from those cases , trying civilians before military courts is invalid. However, article #48 allows the military judiciary to decide their own jurisdiction and makes every civilian liable to be military tried. Article #48 was the common factor in sentences issued against 12,000 Egyptian civilians from Jan 28th so far.
The Egyptian center as it welcomes this court decision , stresses on seizing the opportunity to correct the regime mistakes done in 7 months’ time , most significantly trying civilians before military courts and wasting their right to fair trial before their natural judge.