Commenting on Mubarak's speech at the country’s first ‘Judges' Day’, Judge Zakaria Abdel-Aziz, President of the Court of Appeals, said President Mubarak's speech is not new, but is repeating itself and we are hearing the same terms as we did 30 years ago: the "Judges of Egypt are a fortified fortress" and "put the law in the hands of the judges”, "and "we are keen on insuring greater judiciary independence".
In his comment on Mubarak's speech, Abdel Aziz replied, questioning: Who prevents the maintenance of true justice? Does the regime seek to bring justice as the President claims? He answered: The regime stands in the way of bringing justice to the people, either by enacting unconstitutional laws that are challenged as unconstitutional, or the results of ill-considered decisions that make citizens resort to courts, or by failing to implement judicial rulings as there are many decisions that executives refuse to implement. Does this actually bring about justice?
He added: If we look at it, we will notice that the largest share of cases filed before the State Council were caused by the system, which caused more than 3000 appeals to be filed before the Administrative Court during the last parliamentary election. The government's unsound proceedings are causing many lawsuits.
"Many vital and important issues were incumbent upon the judges to discuss with the President during his speech like the demand to cancel the Emergency Law, because it did not prevent the suicide bombing that targeted Al-Qidiseen church in Alexandria", Abdel-Aziz said, adding, that the Emergency Law can not bring about the independence of the judiciary, because the law is exceptional and governed by extraordinary measures", and, "when the prosecution releases suspects, an administrative decision is issued to detain them again, questioning, whether this is not a blatant assault on the independence of the judiciary."
Mahmoud El-Khodeiry, former vice-chairman of the Court of Cassation and former president of the Judges Club in Alexandria, who resigned in 2009, protests the deterioration of the country's judicial system.
"What the President said in his speech is beautiful, but it does not reflect – and in fact contradicts– reality," El-Khodeiry told Al-Mesryoon.
"The biggest problem is the lack of respect for judicial rulings, which in my opinion, is a dangerous phenomenon that will affect Egypt's safety and stability."
El-Khodeiry pointed out that in Western democracies judicial rulings are respected by everyone in the country, including those in higher office. However, in Egypt it is the government itself which ignores the rulings. He added that the new Judges' Day is nothing more than a superficial facade aimed to cover a far more disturbing reality.
"The problem in Egypt is that our whole life is based on superficial acts," said El-Khodeiry. "We don't need an official Judges' Day – just respect my rulings and, as a judge, that will make my day every day!"
According to a judge at Asyut Criminal Court who asked for anonymity, Mubarak's speech on his respect for the judiciary and judicial rulings contradicts more than 200 decisions issued by the administrative court against current parliamentarians in some electoral districts. He added: The government refuses to comply with rulings, in addition to others, as a blatant attack that has clearly and seriously undermined the prestige of the Judiciary.
Judge Walid Shafii - Chancellor at Cairo Court of Appeals - pointed out that the presidency has chosen and identified a number of judges who attended the meeting and even if we assume that the Supreme Judicial Council intervened in their selection, they must take the approval of the President's office. Therefore, the meeting was unfruitful and did not reflect the judges' views because the attendees neither paid attention to the judges' demands nor the independence of the judiciary.
Judge Ashraf El-Baroudi agreed with him, stressing that the meeting and issues discussed were prepared in anticipation. Such meetings aimed at nothing more than a mere exchange of pleasantries and building good relations.
The meeting closed downtown Cairo and citizens were piled up because subway station entrances and exits were completely locked.