Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Tarek AlBishry on the Judges

Last night's lecture by Tarek AlBishry (following his previous - lectures about Egypt in the last two centuries) focused on the history of the Judiciary and its role as a balancing force between the Executive and the Parliament branches. Imagine Baheyya's article about the Judiciary described and narrated first hand by the wonderful AlBishry (who was once head of Magles el-Dawla). Lucky me.

AlBishry started out by explaining that the Judiciary is formed of atomic units (of independant Judges), unlike the hierarchical structure of the Executive government (power flows top down), or the flat representation of the people in Parliament (power flows bottom up). The Judiciary have no material power in hand, except their word - emblematic power (kowa ma3naweyya). They take no initiatives as issues and problems are brought to them to interpret the law (defined by Parliament) to make judgements (to be executed by the Government).

The history of their independance, first law to explicitly state the Judiciary independance by Sabry Abu Alam in 1943, and sidelining them by Nasser, then the various attempts of interference and control by the government including the "Judges Massacre" is very interesting. Baheyya wrote about that history here.

I asked him that the Judges stand these days is turning them from independant atomic units balancing the executive and parliamentary powers, into a mostly cohesive power that is confronting the government directly --which is not their traditional role. He was quickly dismissive of such notion, the notion that the Judges are taking a political stand. They are not, he said. They are simply refusing to do an incomplete job. They can't do their job if they're denied the tools to perform it properly, and so they're asking to have the adequate tools needed to do their jobs. A judge can't rule in a case without the proper facts and papers of the case infront of him, a surgeon can't operate without the proper tools in the operating room. Can't send a surgeon into an operating room bare handed. I thought it was a bit of a defensive and diplomatic answer, but apparently the Judges who are taking this stand will be coming under intense pressures and attacks in the coming period --which will be hard to survive.

When asked on how he foresees the Judges stand progressing, the probabilities of how things can turn out, and if it is likely that another "Judges Massacre" can occur, he wouldn't answer, claiming that he can't read the future.

UPDATE: Tarek AlBishry analyses the constitution amendment, elections, and reform in an article he wrote this week here.


Sepideh said...

Take action. Make a difference. Or at least make an effort to make a difference. Send the MEPs of the European countries a copy of the letter posted on the website. Don’t forget to sign your name at the end of the letter! Also, check the Website for deadline. :-) Spread the word around.

Beware of a few responds to the e-mail.


Anonymous said...

Hello. Came across your blog while just randomly searching through blogspots. Very interesting to me, a 30 year old American of Norweigan and Hungarian ancestry, mother of two. I know very little of Egypt or the Middle East for that matter. Reading through your posts has been very educational. Your casual and humorous style surprised me. Please keep writing. I'll keep reading.

Jane in Wisconsin, United States

tic said...

A minor correction: Tarek El-Bishri was never head of the State Council. He was vice president. He was never promoted because of his independence and sound nationalist political views which often clashed with the 'official' position on various matters political and other wise.

I'm surprised you didn't ask him why the judges are inclined to boycott supervising the elections since you think boycott is such a political crime. I know what El-Bishri would have said. I also know what he thinks of the growing call to boycott the referendum and the elections. Too bad all those people still can't reach to some Egyptians, wala eih.

Mohamed said...

I stand corrected TIC, I thought I heard him mention that he was at some point its head, but I probably misunderstood him.

My view regarding the two boycotts is very different. I am very proud of the judges stand, and I believe their threat to boycott the elections is very critical and important, and I am fully supporting their stand (not that my support counts --before you say it), even if they don't have their demands met and actually end up boycotting it.

This stand is very different than calling on the general population to boycott the referundum and the elections --especially that soon. I explained in details what I think about that, but unfortunatley the only thing you read out of it is my alleged disrespect for the movement. I'm sorry for that.

A friend of mine did want to ask alBishry about the call to boycott the referundum/elections by the people, the rationale behind it, and his advise. For some reason he didn't ask him, it wasn't relevant I guess. If you're implying that alBishy would support the 'people' (not the judges) boycott (which I don't know that he is), I would simply disagree with him on this one.

As for his view about the Judges boycott, his answer to my question that I asked him (mentioned in the post) was his explanation, which I totally understand and support.

Jane: pleasantly surprised that you're enjoying it. Just make sure not to read to much into what I write.

tic said...

(not that my support counts --before you say it)
Of course it counts, if you're suggesting my disagreeing with your political stand translates into disrespect, you're very wrong.

"If you're implying that alBishy would support the 'people'"
El-Bishry is a member of the Egyptian Campaign for Change, Kifaya.

Mohamed said...

"El-Bishry is a member of the Egyptian Campaign for Change, Kifaya."

Yes, I know, and I know that that article he wrote earlier inspired them or whatever. But being a member of Kefaya does not necessarily mean that he agrees with every action they take --yet he might very well be in support of the boycott, I just didn't hear him say it.

And that friend of mine who wanted to ask him about his opinion about the boycott, is also a member of Kefaya (if there is such a thing as "membership").

Ghdra said...

You deserve what is happening in your country.

All you have to do is start reform at your own individual homes.

The rest will happen simultaneously.

You are a nation of and no action or deeds. That is why all your scientists and thinkers left you for freedom and prosperity.

You should all be ashamed of yourselves. I will never visit you again.

Me,Myself and I said...

Ghdr..hate to get into this, but could not help inner poise gave in reading your post..You know what, we shall not miss you...

praktike said...

ghdra, you're a moron.

DNA said...

A77a, a77oo, ghdra tafeshtoo.