Top court commissioners say rulings on nullification of Red Sea islands agreement are valid

The Commissioners Authority of the Supreme Constitutional Court said Wednesday that the rulings of State Council courts (the Administrative and Supreme Administrative) on the maritime demarcation agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia do not overstep the jurisdiction of the Supreme Constitutional Court.

According to the border demarcation agreement signed in April 2016, the two islands were deemed to be within Saudi territorial waters, in recognition of historical claims on the part of Saudi Arabia. The Supreme Administrative Court, however, nullified this agreement on the basis that there was not insufficient evidence of the Saudi claims.

The State Lawsuits Authority (SLA) had filed a case with the Supreme Constitutional Court, in August, against the nullification of the agreement, claiming that the singing of the agreement is an act of sovereignty which immunizes it against the supreme court’s jurisdiction.

The Administrative Court (first degree court) had nullified the agreement in two different hearings in June and November of last year, on the basis that there was insufficient evidence for the Saudi claims.

The SLA has filed the case at the Supreme Constitutional Court after the first ruling. But the Supreme Administrative Court in January nullified the agreement in a final ruling.
In late December, Egypt’s government approved the agreement and sent it to Parliament for ratification, despite a legal dispute over the plan.

On Wednesday, the parliament ratified the agreement and approved the transfer of Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia.

However the Supreme Constitutional Court said that it will convene on July 30 to start hearing the case. The consequences of its final ruling are still not clear while the parliament has already ratified the agreement.

The Commissioners Authority of the Supreme Constitutional Court said in a statement Wednesday that “the rulings of the State Council are valid and enforceable and are not contrary to Constitutional (Court) provisions.”

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