Fifteen years after the passage of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), we stand at several crossroads. Support for personal criminal responsibility for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes remains robust in many parts of the world, yet the ICC faces considerable obstacles and universal jurisdiction of national courts is in a period of retrenchment Although general amnesties are no longer the standard fare of negotiated peace agreements, realistic accountability measures are difficult to enact, more so even to implement. Contributors to this report include distinguished legal practitioners, scholars, and international activists who seek to utilize or challenge the viability of the concept of criminal liability for large-scale acts of political violence. Among the topics they address are the underlying assumptions of international justice (ICJ), empirical evidence of ICJ's effectiveness, challenges of enforcement, politics of opposition to ICJ, and possibilities for reform.
For nearly three decades, scholars and policymakers have placed considerablestock in judicial reform as a panacea for the political and economic turmoil plagu-ing developing countries. Courts are charged with spurring economic develop-ment, safeguarding human rights, and even facilitating transitions to democracy.How realistic are these expectations, and in what political contexts can judicialreforms deliver their expected benefits? In this book, Tamir Moustafa addressesthese issues through an examination of the politics of the Egyptian SupremeConstitutional Court, the most important experiment in constitutionalism in theArab world.
The Egyptian regime established a surprisingly independent constitutional court to address a series of economic and administrative pathologies that lie at theheart of authoritarian political systems. Although the Court helped the regime toinstitutionalize state functions and attract investment, it simultaneously openednew avenues through which rights advocates and opposition parties could chal-lenge the regime. The book examines the dynamics of legal mobilization in thismost unlikely political environment.
Standing at the intersection of political science, economics, and comparativelaw, The Struggle for Constitutional Power challenges conventional wisdom andprovides new insights into perennial questions concerning the barriers to institu-tional development, economic growth, and democracy in the developing world.
Scholars have generally assumed that courts in authoritarian states are pawns oftheir regimes, upholding the interests of governing elites and frustrating the effortsof their opponents. As a result, nearly all studies in comparative judicial politicshave focused on democratic and democratizing countries. This volume bringstogether leading scholars in comparative judicial politics to consider the causesand consequences of judicial empowerment in authoritarian states. It demonstratesthe wide range of governance tasks that courts perform, as well as the way in whichcourts can serve as critical sites of contention both among the ruling elite andbetween regimes and their citizens. Drawing on empirical and theoretical insightsfrom every major region of the world, this volume advances our understanding ofjudicial politics in authoritarian regimes.
The past four decades have witnessed profound transformations in the Egyptian legal system and in the Egyptian legal profession. Article 2 of the Egyptian Constitution now enshrines Islamic jurisprudence as the principle source of law, thus establishing an important symbolic marker at the heart of the state and opening avenues for Islamist activists to press litigation campaigns in the courts. Additionally, the Islamist trend gained prominence within the legal profession, a development that is particularly striking given the long and illustrious history of the Lawyer’s Syndicate as a bastion of liberalism. Despite these significant shifts, however, Islamist litigation has achieved only limited legal victories. This article traces the political and socio-economic variables that underlie the Islamist trend in Egyptian law, and examines the impact of Islamist litigation in the Egyptian courts.
Drawing on original survey research, this study examines how lay Muslims in Malaysia understand foundational concepts in Islamic law. The survey finds a substantial disjuncture between popular legal consciousness and core epistemological commitments in Islamic legal theory. In its classic form, Islamic legal theory was marked by its commitment to pluralism and the centrality of human agency in Islamic jurisprudence. Yet in contemporary Malaysia, lay Muslims tend to understand Islamic law as being purely divine, with a single 'correct' answer to any given question. The practical implications of these findings are demonstrated through examples of efforts by women’s rights activists to reform family law provisions in Malaysia. The examples illustrate how popular misconceptions of Islamic law hinder the efforts of those working to reform family law codes while strengthening the hand of conservative actors wishing to maintain the status quo.
Malaysia ranks sixth out of 175 countries worldwide in the degree of state regulation of religion. The Malaysian state enforces myriad rules and regulations in the name of Islam and claims a monopoly on the interpretation of Islamic law. However, this should not be understood as the implementation of an ‘Islamic’ system of governance or the realization of an ‘Islamic state’. Rather, the Malaysian case provides a textbook example of how government efforts to monopolize Islamic law necessarily subvert core epistemological principles in the Islamic legal tradition. As such, Malaysia provides an important opportunity to rethink the relationship between the state, secularism and the politics of Islamic law.
Al-Azhar, traditionally Egypt’s most respected and influential center for Islamic study, adopted an increasingly bold platform opposing Egyptian government policy throughout the mid-1990s. Al-Azhar defied government policy on a variety of sensitive issues, including population control, the practice of clitoridectomy, and censorship rights. Moreover, al-Azhar directly challenged the government in high-profile forums such as the United Nations International Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo in September of 1994. This open opposition was remarkable in light of the tremendous capacity that the Egyptian government has shown in the past to manipulate and control al-Azhar. Over the past century, and particularly since the 1952 Free Oficers’ coup, the Egyptian government virtually incorporated al-Azhar as an arm of the state through purges and control over Azhar finances, and by gaining the power to appoint al-Azhar’s key leadership. Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat, and Husni Mubarak all benefited from this dominance over al-Azhar by securing fatwas legitimating their policies. Given this overwhelming leverage, what can explain al-Azhar’s increased opposition to the government throughout the mid-1990s?