By Omneya Makhlouf
Article 143 outlines the framework of the rights given to the President with regards to the military. No mention is made of a military budget but Article 183 mandates that the law “shall regulate the military judiciary.”
Article 147 is similar to Article 143, but Article 195 states that the “Minister of Defense is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.” Article 197 of the 2012 constitution stipulated the creation of the National Defense Council, which included several high-ranking military officials responsible for the protection of the state and the budget of the Armed Forces. Article 198 elaborates on Article 183 of the 1971 constitution, stating that civilians cannot be tried in military courts “except for crimes that harm the Armed Forces.”
Article 153 outlines the framework of the rights given to the President with regards to the military and retains 1971’s Article 143 as Article 201. It adds the transitional Article 234, which includes the Supreme Council of Armed Forces’ (SCAF) approval of the appointment of the Minister of Defense, with Article 201 stipulating that he must be appointed from among the officers of the Armed Forces. That the Minister of Defense cannot be a civilian further consolidates the autonomy of the army. Minor changes to 2012’s Article 197 appear in the draft’s Article 203 with regards to the representatives of the National Defense Council and the formalities of budget discussions. These include the removal of Shura Council representation and adding the head of the financial affairs department of the Armed Forces and the heads of the Planning and Budgeting Committee and the National Security Committee at the House of Representatives to the discussions of military budgets.
One of the biggest bones of contention has been the authority to refer civilians to military rather than civilian trials. Article 204 lists crimes meriting military trials for civilians such as “crimes that represent a direct assault against military facilities, military barracks, or whatever falls under their authority; stipulated military or border zones; its equipment, vehicles, weapons, ammunition, documents, military secrets, public funds or military factories; crimes related to conscription; or crimes that represent a direct assault against its officers or personnel because of the performance of their duties.” Further to this, the clause grants autonomy to the Military Judiciary from civilian authorities.