Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Egypt/Saudi Arabia: Supreme Administrative Court Rejects Government Appeal in Red Sea Islands Agreement Case

(Jan. 25, 2017) On January 16, 2017, the Supreme Administrative Court of Egypt rejected the Egyptian government’s appeal against a decision issued by the court of first instance that repealed a bilateral agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia on maritime demarcation.  The agreement included the transfer of sovereignty of Tiran and Sanafir Islands in the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia.  (Sarah El-Sheikh, Neither the People nor the State Are Allowed to Let Go of Egyptian Land: State Council, DAILY NEWS EGYPT (Jan. 16, 2017; see also George Sadek, Egypt/Saudi Arabia: Bilateral Agreement on Maritime Demarcation Approved by Ministers, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Jan. 12, 2017).)

In its recent ruling, the Supreme Administrative Court declared that the government of Egypt had failed to submit to the Court any documents proving Saudi sovereignty over the two islands.  Accordingly, the Court decided to reject the appeal of the Egyptian government.  (El-Sheikh, supra.)

In response to the Supreme Administrative Court’s decision, the government has filed a new case before the Supreme Constitutional Court seeking to repeal the ruling.  This action is the last step in the process of appealing administrative court decisions.  (Nour Youssef, Egyptian Court Blocks Plan to Transfer Two Islands to Saudi Arabia, NEW YORK TIMES (Jan. 16, 2017).)

In its legal complaint submitted before the Supreme Constitutional Court, the government argues that the judiciary does not have jurisdiction to review the legality of agreements reached by the President of Egypt and other countries.  (Id.; Ramadan al-Shirbini, Red Sea Islands Dispute ‘Not Over’ as Options Are Weighed, GULF NEWS (Jan. 17, 2016).)

The Commissioners’ Authority of the Supreme Constitutional Court has announced that the Court will consider the matter of annulment of the Egypt-Saudi Arabia maritime demarcation agreement in February 2017. (Id.)