Transparency International lists Egypt among countries with corrupt legal systems
CAIRO: Transparency International’s 2007 annual report listed Egypt among those countries which suffer from corruption in its legal system.
For Egypt to achieve political progress and put an end to the corruption present in the legal system, the legal system and the public prosecutor have to be independent of the government, Hossam Bahgat, chairman of the Egyptian Initiative of Personal Rights told The Daily Star Egypt.
Bahgat also wrote the section of the report pertaining to the corruption in Egypt’s legal system.
"Democracy will never be achieved as long as the government refuses to give the judges their own space," Bahgat added.
Bahgat also called for a change in the way the public prosecutor is selected, as currently the President chooses only one candidate for the position. Bahgat recommends that the President should choose from several candidates nominated by the judges.
"Also in the current system, the prosecutor cannot be stripped of his title by any authority, besides the fact that he is given political posts after retirement," which Bahgat believes leads to contradictions and conflict of interests.
Hisham El-Bastawisy, deputy head of the Appeals Court, told The Daily Star Egypt that the report has identified all the malfunctions present in the Egyptian legal system.
"Everything that came in the report on Egypt's legal system is true," said El-Bastawisy.
He further indicated that the judges' club has issued a draft law with recommendations to improve the legal system that the "government has completely rejected and disregarded."
The government rejects the idea of an independent legal system, as El-Bastawisy said, which for him, is the first and most important step towards the development of the Egyptian legal system.
This is not a strange phenomenon, Bahgat said, indicating the government's disapproval of the judges' club’s propositions and demands.
"We are not living in an open and democratic society where the government listens to civil society," he added.
Transparency International’s annual report is presented to the world's top countries that, based on the report, may impose sanctions on some of the third world countries that show low rates on issues related to human rights and democracy.
"We [judges' club] have warned the government that the corruption, if sustained in the legal system, will eventually subject the country to an international crisis, but the government refused to listen and insisted on its position," El-Bastawisy added.
"We have problems everywhere, not only in the legal system," Bahgat said.
"We face obstacles regarding changing the laws regulating permissions to build churches and mosques [that discriminate between churches and mosques, making it easier to get a license to build a mosque than a church], political and personal rights," Bahgat added.