Judges and Political Reform in

Nathalie Bernard-Maugiron


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(2015) If justice in the Arab world is often marked by a lack of autonomy of the judiciary toward the executive power, one of the characteristic features of the Egyptian judiciary lies in its strength and activism in the defense of democratic values. Judges have been struggling for years to enhance their independence from the executive power and exercise full supervision of the electoral process to achieve transparent elections. Recent years have seen growing tensions in Egypt between the judiciary and the executive authority. In order to gain concessions, judges went as far as to threaten to boycott the supervision of the presidential and legislative elections in the fall of 2005 and to organize sit-ins in the streets. The struggle between the two powers was in full swing in the spring of 2006, when a conference convened in Cairo in early April on the theme of the role of judges in the process of political reform in Egypt and the Arab world. The conference was organized by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) in cooperation with the Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement (IRD). This book is a collection of papers from the conference dealing with Egypt. They allow a better understanding of the role judges are playing in the process of democratic reform in Egypt as well as the limits of their struggle.