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Amendment stripping president of right to refer civilians to military trials approved

Others | 12 April 2012

The People’s Assembly on Tuesday approved in principle the amendment of certain provisions of the Code of Military Justice, abolishing Article 6 that gives the president the right to refer civilians to military tribunals if a state of emergency is declared.

The removal of Article 6 means military courts will no longer have the power to refer crimes to their jurisdiction on a case by case basis.
The explanatory note to the bill stated that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, through an integrated constitutional and legislative system, worked on consolidating democracy.
MP Mohamed al-Omda had submitted a draft law to cancel Article 48, which states that only the military judicial authorities have the right to decide whether certain offenses fall within its jurisdiction, which Parliament would discuss at a later stage.
Last month, the Assembly's Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee approved the cancellation of Article 6, and decided to postpone discussing the removal of Article 48 of the same law.
General Mamdouh Shahin, a member of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, told the committee last month, that Article 6 had been imposed on military leaders under former President Hosni Mubarak, adding that military officials had long called for reconsidering the article. However, he called for finding an alternative that enables the country's president to handle potential threats to national security.

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