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Amendments to the leadership of the Supreme Judicial Council raise concern in run up to elections

The Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) reported today that it had held an exceptional meeting with a “full quorum”, headed by the head of the Judicial Bodies Inspection Department, Miftah Al-Gwee, and in the presence of the SJC’s Vice-President and Attorney General, Sideeg Al-Sour.

The SJC reported that it had discussed several judicial issues and the implementation of Law No. 11 of 2021.

It will be recalled that Law 11 suddenly came to the surface yesterday amending the SJC. Questions have been raised as to the validity of this law as there seems to be no recollection of when the House of Representatives had passed it. There are fears that it was ‘‘passed’’ by HoR head Ageela Saleh out of session.

Yesterday, acting head of the HoR, Fawzi Al-Nuwairi, poured fuel on this suspicion by not clearly recollecting when it had been passed. He said that Law No. 11 is being verified.

The preamble to the law refers to its adoption in the regular HoR session held on 20 September 2019. This implies that there was a session on that date.

New law amendments on leadership of SJC

The current law prescribes that the head of the Judicial Inspection assumes the presidency of the SJC instead of the chief of the Supreme Court in the old system.

The amendments also stipulate that the Attorney General shall act as Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council.

Questions about the timing

Questions have been raised about the timing of the implementation and the publicising of these amendments so close to the elections.

Cynics have expressed fears that the amendments are related to efforts to affect any appeals surrounding the planned elections.

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