The cabinet on Wednesday approved a decree issued by interim President Adly Mansour that amended aspects of the military judiciary.
The amendments, which the cabinet said had been proposed to “strengthen the guarantees of the litigants” in front of military courts, include giving defendants the right to appeal sentences in two stages for misdemeanours, rather than the single stage allotted to them in the original law.
Similar to civilian courts, death sentences handed down in military courts will now require the approval of the Grand Mufti of the Republic.
The amendments also apply the stipulations set forth in the Criminal Procedure Law to military courts as it relates to trying defendants in absentia.
Article 204 of the newly ratified constitution says the military judiciary is “an independent judiciary” that deals with all crimes related to the armed forces. It has jurisdiction over army personnel and crimes committed by general intelligence personnel during and because of their service.
The article also stipulates that civilians can be tried before military tribunals in a number of circumstances that include “direct assaults” on military property and personnel, and also fall under military jurisdiction for cases that involve military secrets.
Similar to the civilian judiciary, the members of the military judiciary are autonomous and cannot be dismissed, as stated in the constitution.