Instead of maintenance, the Supreme Council of Antiquities rejects accepting the executive order of Champolion Palace ruling on the grounds of “a legal error”

Instead of maintenance, the Supreme Council of Antiquities rejects accepting the executive order of Champolion Palace ruling on the grounds of “a legal error”

The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights condemns the Supreme Council of Antiquities for rejecting the acceptance of the executive formula of the Eighth Removals Department of the Administrative Judiciary Court, which annulled the negative decision to abstain from conducting the necessary maintenance to protect the palace of Prince Said Halem, known as “Champollion.” This includes removing encroachments and assaults on it, resulting in effects such as opening it to the public for tourism and cultural purposes, given its status as an Egyptian antiquity, citing an error in the notifier’s capacity.

In the lawsuit filed by the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), Case No.21272 of the judicial year 67, on behalf of the tour guide Sally Salah Al-Din Ahmed Suleiman against the Prime Minister, Minister of Antiquities, Minister of Interior, and the Governor of Cairo in their capacities.

The Center’s lawyers obtained the executive formula of the judgment on November 6, 2023. State Lawsuits Authority was acknowledged of litigation in its capacity as a representative of the Prime Minister, Minister of Culture, Minister of Interior, and the Governor of Cairo. When the court clerk went to the Supreme Council of Antiquities to acknowledge the head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of the lawsuit, the designated official refused to accept, citing an error in the acknowledged capacity, as he is now known as the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

It is worth mentioning that the Minister of Culture held the position of the head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities according to Article No. 4 of Presidential Decree No. 82 of 1994 regarding the establishment of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. The Secretary-General of the Council was one of the council’s members, and Article 7 of that decree confirmed that the Chairman of the Council’s Board represents the Council in legal matters and its relations with others.
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This situation continued until the restructuring of the Council by the Prime Minister’s decision under Decree No. 2462 of 2022. The Supreme Council of Antiquities became a public entity with legal personality, headquartered in Cairo, and under the supervision of the minister responsible for antiquities affairs. The Council’s board is now chaired by the minister responsible for antiquities affairs, with the Secretary-General of the Council as a member. The Council’s board is the highest authority overseeing the Council’s affairs and its affiliated entities, managing their affairs. Article 5 of the Prime Minister’s decree states that the Council’s board meets at least once a month at the invitation of its chairman, and according to Article 6, the Secretary-General of the Council now represents the Council in legal matters and its relations with others.

As the lawsuit was filed on January 21, 2013, under the continued validity of Presidential Decree No. 82 of 1994, it was necessary for the Council’s representative to correct the status. He is not allowed to argue this when refusing to accept the announcement with the executive formula of the judgment for execution.

The Center condemns the officials in the Supreme Council of Antiquities for using these procedural issues as an obstacle to refusing the receipt of the judgment and its consequent of not implementing it. At a time when we hoped the Council would deal with the judgment as a notice that should be acted upon to protect Egyptian archaeological heritage.

The Center emphasizes that the refusal of officials in the Supreme Council of Antiquities to accept the judgment’s formula and take necessary maintenance measures to protect Egyptian antiquities, remove encroachments, is regrettable and unprecedented. Therefore, we appeal to the Prime Minister’s office and relevant authorities to intervene and compel the Council’s officials to receive the judgment and execute it.

The Center reaffirms that the judgment was a crucial step towards saving Egyptian antiquities, especially Prince Said Halem’s Palace, known as Champollion. This necessitates urgent measures for its execution, given that the value of Egyptian antiquities stands as prominent evidence of the nation’s identity and history, which has undergone many changes. They continue to be a global point of interest, representing one of the earliest civilizations in history and embodying the achievements of ancient ancestors.

It is not hidden from any observer of antiquities affairs in Egypt the extent of the current deterioration affecting a significant portion of these antiquities, whether in terms of protection, maintenance, restoration, or optimal utilization. They are integral to the national income and provide a true portrayal of Egypt to the entire world.

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