17 May 2023

National Dialogues as Constitutional Moments

In April 2022, Egypt's President Al-Sisi announced a surprising call for a “political dialogue on national priorities during the current phase.” The announcement formed part of a broader package of reforms that the Egyptian government seemingly initiated, following years of sustained criticism over its human rights record. After a year-long wait, the National Dialogue launched on May 3, 2023. This post will explain why despite some promising features, it is unlikely to effectuate meaningful change, due to certain design flaws and the decision by its Board to preclude the possibility of constitutional change.

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01 February 2023

Anti-Terror Legislation and Property Rights in Egypt

In January 2023, the Egyptian cabinet introduced a new bill for parliamentary discussion proposing the establishment of a new body to manage seized funds and assets confiscated by the state, including the seized assets of individuals and organizations legally designated as terrorists. In the midst of a severe economic crisis, the bill allows the transfer of confiscated funds and assets from the public treasury to a new entity that would have the mandate to take any form of disposition regarding these assets. The Egyptian sheds the light on the problematic “preventive” nature of counter-terrorism regulations, which vanishes criminal law safeguards and rule of law standards.

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28 November 2022

Ernüchternde Klimakonferenz und ihre Lehren

Die diesjährige UN-Klimakonferenz wurde mit kaum positiven Ergebnissen abgeschlossen. Es ist auf globaler Ebene nicht gelungen, sich auf ehrgeizigere Klimaschutzziele zu einigen. Zwar gab es in einigen Bereichen positive erste Schritte, komplexe Verhandlungspunkte wurden aber größtenteils auf das nächste Jahr verschoben. Dabei fand die COP27 in Sharm el Sheikh unter schwierigen Bedingungen statt. Hier ein kurzer Überblick, welche Ergebnisse – auch am Rande der offiziellen Verhandlungen – trotzdem erzielt werden konnten und was wir für das nächste Jahr lernen können.

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15 April 2021

When Emergency is Permanent, What Else Could be Done?

Indeed, from the very outset, Egypt’s attitude concerning the management of the pandemic crisis was the adoption of the minimum possible actions, which does not harm the state economic plan, nor change the way the system functions. From a formalist point of view, Egypt has existed in a permanent state of emergency since 2017, and as a consequence, no specific legal response was adopted by the state which might alter the regular decision-making process or power arrangements between different branches. The desire of presenting an image to the public that the situation is under control was a crucial factor in Egypt's political, legal, and economic response to the COVID-19 crisis.

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19 May 2020

Emergency Law Amendments to Fight Covid-19 in Egypt: Putting the Poison in the Honey

One could learn a very important lesson from the Egyptian experience as it relates to the state of emergency: A good constitutional text alone is not enough. Although new amendments to the Emergency Law included several public health measures that allow the state to contain the impact of the spread of COVID-19, the absence of a parliamentary and judicial review will remain a huge threat to fundamental rights and the basics of the democratic rule-making.

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24 August 2015
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Egypt: Homosexuality is legal – but not allowed

26 men were arrested in front of TV cameras and later charged with “habitual debauchery” after a crackdown had taken place at a local bathhouse in Cairo. Attorney Islam Khalifa defended 14 of the accused. It was not the first time in his career: only two months earlier he had defended seven men in another case that gained international attention where 8 men were charged with endangering public morality for attending a “marriage-like” ceremony on a Nile cruise. In this interview he talks about the legal practice in Egypt in general and the situation of the Egyptian LGBTQ community.

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