Fair Judiciary is Crucial As Egypt Struggles with Authoritarianism, Judge Tells Faculty and Guests at Miami Law


 Catharine Skipp/Miami Law)

Standing at rear, from left, Judge Mohamed Ahamed El Shahawi; Judge Rosemary Barkett; Judge A. Jay Cristol; Dean Patricia D. White; Judge Adel Maged; and Judge Mohamed Ahmed Abdelwahab Elabd; seated in front, Judge Ahmed Tharwat Mohamed; Judge Amr Ahmed El-Zohary; and Judge Hossam el Din Ramzy. (Photo: Catharine Skipp/Miami Law)

For decades, many Arab countries suffered from abuses of power by corrupt, authoritarian regimes that reigned unobstructed and prevented their people from achieving aspirations to freedom and justice, Judge Adel Maged, Vice-President of the Egyptian Court of Cassation, told an audience recently at Miami Law.

The failure of Arab regimes to establish economic and democratic reforms for their citizens was a major factor in the protests and upheavals that began in 2011 and are still going on in the region, said Judge Maged, whose bench is the supreme criminal court of Egypt and who is an Honorary Professor of Law at Durham University in England. "The Arab Spring illustrates how Arab people aspire to win their freedom and achieve justice and prosperity within democratic regimes governed by the rule of law," he said."A prerequisite for rule of law is an independent judiciary and judicial authority. The establishment of an independent, fair and efficient judicial system is also a critical instrument for a country breaking with its authoritarian past."

Achieving such goals, he said, requires comprehensive reform in the field of law and justice. In Egypt, the judge went on, the current legal system is unable to address the type of serious crimes committed before, during and after the revolution of Jan. 25, 2011. In his address, Judge Maged explored the role of transitional justice in enabling Egyptian society to move from tyranny to democracy and to determine how best to address the wrongs of the past when building for the future. He also discussed the need to design and implement transitional justice systems according to each Arab country's particularities, including its culture and faith.

Judge Maged covered the relationship between judicial independence and the rule of law; the role of transitional justice in establishing the rule of law; and Islamic Shari'a approaches toward the Arab Spring revolutions.

He was accompanied to Miami Law by several colleagues from the Egyptian courts: Judge Mohamed Ahamed El Shahawi; Judge Mohamed Ahmed Abdelwahab Elabd; Judge Ahmed Tharwat Mohamed; Judge Amr Ahmed El-Zohary; and Judge Hossam el Din Ramzy. Also in attendance was Judge Rosemary Barkett of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit; and Judge A. Jay Cristol, J.D. '59, Chief Judge Emeritus of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Miami, who hosted the event. The visit of the Egyptian judges was part of the Open World Program of the Library of Congress.