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The Judiciary and "Revolution" in Egypt


The vital role of Egypt's judiciary, in the two and half years since the start of the "revolution" of 25 January 2011, has been amply demonstrated by the relentless legal bombshells that have been constantly dropping on the public scene. As like other state institutions after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, the justice system has been hardly reformed, while its work methods and personnel have been molded by decades of authoritarianism. Contrary to other public institutions however, the judiciary has benefited - at least until 2011 - from an indisputable reputation for integrity and a relative independence from the regime due to the legalist character of the Egyptian authoritarianism, but also to the existence of democratic reformist judges among its ranks. The judiciary can therefore be considered, with good arguments, both a bastion of the authoritarian Egyptian state and an actor for change. We will attempt here to shed light, as far as possible, on the role of this complex and sometimes contradictory institution in the context of Egypt's transition.

Paper produced within the framework of the IAI project "Egypt in transition".

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