with a response by Fiona Vernal
This event will take place in Homer Babbidge Library 4-209. It will also be livestreamed. To attend virtually, please register.
For a list of all our events go to: https://humanities.uconn.edu/2021/09/27/2021-2022-events/
Egypt has weaponized the Rule of Law against civil society, using legal statutes such as the Protest Law, Cyber Law, Terrorist Law, and NGO Registration Law to control and shut down hundreds of human rights organizations and incarcerate many thousands of political prisoners, by latest counts, approximately 60,000 people. Meanwhile, law-based NGOs have brought human rights reform to Egypt’s historically independent judiciary since the late 1990s by litigating human rights violations, often using strategic litigation aimed at striking down repressive unconstitutional laws.
This presentation, divided into three parts, will first offer examples of successful human rights litigation during the first two decades of Egypt’s human rights movement based on interviews conducted in Egypt in the wake of the Arab Spring. These successes hinged on the existence of an independent judiciary. Part two explores how the advocacy of civil society and judges themselves has strengthened the judiciary while, at the same time, certain actions of Egypt’s Executive Branch have severely undermined, and at times punished, the autonomy of judges. Finally, by examining particular cases decided by Egyptian courts post-Arab Spring, part three analyzes how judicial independence and the rule of law in Egypt are not binary concepts. Despite notable court rulings that violated fundamental human rights, there are still glimmers of courage and independence in the judiciary which remains one of the few avenues of possible reform.