Egypt’s Greatest Lawyer Dies.

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Egypt’s Greatest Lawyer Dies.

Post by Hafiz » Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:31 am

M. CHERIF BASSIOUNI a distinguished expatriate Egyptian international lawyer, academic, senior UN official and nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. He wrote numerous books over the decades – many published by the best universities in the world. Unlike Hawass his books are reviewed in scholarly journals by peers – always with deep regard.

Judged by international standards of decency and intelligence he is probably the most esteemed Egyptian lawyer in the world. Needless to say the Government of Egypt ignores him, al Ahram publishes nasty things about him and he stayed well away.

He hated corruption and his family comes from Upper Egypt and has a long history in the independence and freedom movement in Egypt. Born a Muslim he was educated by Catholics in Cairo and patriotically returned to Egypt to fight against the English and French in 1956 – during which he was wounded. Under Nasser he was imprisoned for denouncing arrests and torture and later escaped Egypt in 1961 by stowing on a ship. Had he stayed he might not have lived but, from a 'positive' point of view, 'exits' like his meant that the less talented could do better.

He received ten honorary degrees and sixteen medals from eight countries and died in October 2017. An obit: https://thewire.in/183649/cherif-bassio ... ional-law/ another obit: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/04/obit ... at-79.html and http://law.wustl.edu/WashULaw/crimesaga ... 1937-2017/

Al Ahram Weekly (but not the daily) did do an obit on him – (written not by a journalist but a friend) but left out all the bits embarrassing to Egypt or any bits in which he was critical of Egypt for its corruption or decedent ruling class. I can find no record that any of his books, all of which were translated into Arabic, were ever reviewed or mentioned in any Egyptian newspaper or magazine. No Egyptian university gave him any recognition. The American University in Cairo ignored him. Neither the Egyptian courts not the Egyptian legal profession showed the slightest interest in him.

Unlike many in power in Egypt now he felt comfortable in the world, was interested in different peoples and cultures and thought debate was the essence of a civilized life – but never lacked a strong sense of morality, including attacking the USA for its human rights abuses. In some ways he represents a level of tolerance, skill and intelligence the purging of which has only made Egypt better - for some.

He was widely considered ‘the father’ of the International Criminal Court and was the author of the UN treaty against torture. Like many others getting out made him.

Recently he wrote ‘Chronicles of the Egyptian Revolution and Its Aftermath’ which is published by Cambridge University Press and available from Amazon as an e-book.

Its long and detailed.

He also wrote on-line ‘prosecution reports’ in about 2013 on the current status of prosecutions against the crooks. They are also long and detailed – and a bit boring.

He focuses on the corruption changes that came out in 2011-13, the evidence submitted in court and the convictions at the time. Since then the public record has been ‘cleansed’, convictions overturned and reputations restored.

A particular strength is his knowledge of family networks, marriages and blood relationships. The overall picture he paints is that sons, cousins and in-laws, sometimes with different surnames or different spellings of the family name, have ‘replaced’ the old crooks and are now the ‘front’. The Ezz family comes to mind but there are many others.

I think his point is that little has changed in terms of morality/business practice nor in terms of the ‘players’ – although the driver of the whole jalopy is now clearly in a uniform

Newcastle (an area of interest to you) – he details the ‘settlement’ law for crooks and thieves (although this may now have been overtaken by subsequent laws). He makes the point that it was a proclamation put out by SCAF, never debated, never passed by an elected body and that it, miraculously, provides for payment at the rate at the time of the offense. Therefore if you got a piece of government land at a 90% discount in 2005 you pay the 90% extra at the 2005 market rate. If you subsequently got the governor to give you free/cheap water/gas etc that’s not considered. Therefore if as a result of the market, inflation, the free infrastructure, the cheap loan from the government bank to build a hotel its increased in value 10 times you only pay a ‘fine’ of 90% of 10% of its current value (a 9% fine) and at 2005 non-capital-improved values and get all the benefit of the rest. What a deal – could it get any better? http://mcherifbassiouni.com/wp-content/ ... ate-15.pdf

His website contains multiples of this http://mcherifbassiouni.com/egypt-updates/

Here is a great opportunity. If they applied the ‘settlement’ deal to the 10 million poor illegal residents (some of whom are being evicted) in Cairo and elsewhere that would mean that they would be offered the chance to buy the land they ‘illegally occupy’ at the cost at the time they first occupied it (ignoring inflation and the building they put on it and the electricity etc.). That would be almost nothing and would give home ownership to millions – what a good idea. Some one should speak to the Luxor Governor about this – what about ‘the sisters’ who are very close (and loyal) to ‘all power’ and who claim to feel so strongly for the poor?

What could make more sense – apply the same law to the poor as you apply to the rich? The legal precedent is already established – all that is needed is its application to all citizens. The law is universal and applies equally to all - as Bassiouni spent his life standing up for.



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Re: Egypt’s Greatest Lawyer Dies.

Post by newcastle » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:20 am

Truly a remarkable and accomplished man.
Recently he wrote ‘Chronicles of the Egyptian Revolution and Its Aftermath’ which is published by Cambridge University Press and available from Amazon as an e-book. https://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-Egypt ... 1107589916
Thank you Hafiz....I think I'll have a look at that.
What could make more sense – apply the same law to the poor as you apply to the rich?
Of course, Hafiz ;)

But I'm not holding my breath. A poor man with the 'wrong' political allegiances faces execution, whilst a rich man, convicted of murder, is pardoned, gives you some insight to the application of the law in Egypt. :urm:

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Re: Egypt’s Greatest Lawyer Dies.

Post by carrie » Tue Dec 12, 2017 9:16 am

Not just Egypt money buys "justice" anywhere.

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Re: Egypt’s Greatest Lawyer Dies.

Post by newcastle » Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:11 am

carrie wrote:Not just Egypt money buys "justice" anywhere.
Do you mean that literally ....i.e.you can "buy" a legal decision?

In the UK??

(I appreciate that the rich have better recourse to legal advice etc.)

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Re: Egypt’s Greatest Lawyer Dies.

Post by Hafiz » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:58 pm

Carrie - I agree with you but some places try harder, sometimes a lot harder, than others. Justice and fairness is hard, never fully achieved, and an endless effort - by the good. Aiming for it is not unimportant. I think its broadly true that Egyptian judges and lawyers are not noted for their integrity, consistency, independence and skill - maybe not even a small minority of them. I suggest that the Egyptian legal system is not just flawed - its largely broken and whether its capable of 'reform', at either an institutional or personal level, is very debatable. The failure of the International Commission of Jurists to take a 'stick' to them is depressingly expected.

My point is that Bassouni was a great man who stood up to power. Something not present in all countries let alone with all lawyers. He even attacked the US in vitriolic and public terms whilst a US citizen and resident in the US. He was not imprisoned in the US for this or felt the need to preserve his life by escaping the US illegally on a steamer - after imprisonment in the US.

What I think is lacking from the standard Guardian/middle class rant is the frank view that universal application of equal rights, including legal rights, is lacking in some countries - including countries that the left loves or feels (misguided) loyalty/guilt towards. Its nearly 85 years since the UN signed up to the universal human rights - and they have failed, miserably, to implement them.

Whatever we do in the west, a lot of it not much good, we do get (occasionally) angry when we see the rich and powerful oppressing the poor or powerless. That feeling isn't just a feeling but a huge moral and intellectual difference we have with much of the rest of the world. Its taken us thousands of years to develop that moral and intellectual difference - others may take longer - or chose another option.The other option is that power wins over justice/morality.

Newcastle - I strongly suggest you stay away from this issue. Whilst I agree the English Common Law is one of the greatest achievements in human history - the practical administration of UK justice in the 50's, 60's, and 70's is not a pretty story. If you want to go further I will list (as a brief preliminary) the drunken comments of Lord Denning and his views about putting all Irish 'away'. This will be only a very short beginning to a very long and not good story from this period.

I want to agree with your general point. For example, if you want to sign a contract (and you have a brain) you sign it in London or a UK Embassy because UK law is the most 'reliable' legal system in the world. No one wants French or German law or judges - let alone Egyptian, Spanish or Italian. It might not be perfect - but its better than almost everything else. I hope my concessions 'appease' you.

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Re: Egypt’s Greatest Lawyer Dies.

Post by newcastle » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:51 pm

I'm not suggesting the UK legal system is without flaws, or ignoring that some judges may make bizarre comments or come to conclusions difficult to understand. They are human after all, and will have biases.

At least, with a jury system, the question of guilt is often not a matter for the judiciary.

I thought the tenor of earlier posts was about decisions made based on corruption. i.e judges being bribed, or coerced by the executive, into making unjust rulings or in sentencing.

I think this is pretty rare in the UK.......compared to, say, Egypt

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Re: Egypt’s Greatest Lawyer Dies.

Post by carrie » Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:27 pm

A judge doesn't have to be corrupt, you have corrupt police officers, you can buy witnesses or intimidate then into giving false evidence, lots of ways to obtain "justice" given enough clout or money.

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Re: Egypt’s Greatest Lawyer Dies.

Post by Who2 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:41 pm

The other day I asked a taxi driver 'more Lawyers than taxi drivers in Luxor ?
He replied 'Lawyers, I asked the same of my lawyer he agreed 'Lawyers... 8)
Ps: Iv'e employed many in my life only a couple were honest and they were nice but crap!
Pss: "lots of ways to obtain "justice" given enough clout or money. "Never forget 'guile .
Last edited by Who2 on Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Egypt’s Greatest Lawyer Dies.

Post by newcastle » Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:41 pm

carrie wrote:A judge doesn't have to be corrupt, you have corrupt police officers, you can buy witnesses or intimidate then into giving false evidence, lots of ways to obtain "justice" given enough clout or money.
Good point.

But the degree to which this happens in Egypt is, I would suggest, on an entirely different level to , say, the UK.

It's a bit like the issue of women being taken for a ride by gigolos in tourist towns. A subject which often comes up on Egyptian social forums used by foreigners. How often have you seen the riposte from Egyptians ...."well...this happens everywhere"?

I daresay it does....but not anything like to the same degree!

At least not in the UK...unless it's changed dramatically since I worked there :lol:

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Re: Egypt’s Greatest Lawyer Dies.

Post by Hafiz » Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:23 pm

The Egyptian Legal system is primarily based on the French 'system' therefore juries are out. Why the colonial UK administration allowed this is a mystery because there is no-one, other than the French, who thinks the French system any good and even French companies sign their contracts in London to escape French 'justice'.

Paradoxically, if Egypt had adopted a jury system I'm not sure it would have worked out well in the face of bribery, family ties and intimidation. In Egypt it might not have worked to the advantage of the citizen - or of justice.

The other effect of the hideous French system is the merging of the investigation/police and prosecution functions which usually works to the advantage of the state. The UK separation of functions is one of its strengths.

As well the appointment of judges in Egypt is a naked political exercise and there is no tradition in Egypt, except among now imprisoned Cairo lawyers, of standing up to the state/companies for citizens. Rather there seems to be a tradition/mentality of the law serving the state rather than adjudicating between the two.

On the more explosive points - there is no proven case of bribery of a judge in the UK. The US and other places are quite different. There is no proven case in the UK of a corrupted jury - other countries have a very different story. There is no obvious case of removal of a judge for impropriety in the UK - France and the US are full of it. The UK system is broadly to appoint qualified judges - the US and France make political and personal appointments without any shame. There is no proven case of corruption of the prosecutions service in the UK - the others are full of problems including political appointments. Whilst the UK police service has had its problems they pale into insignificance with almost every other police service in the world.

No system is perfect but the UK police and judicial system tries hard and generally succeeds. Even after de-colonization the colonies that hated the UK often kept the system because they saw that as a system it worked better than anything else - although bad people will always corrupt a good system. For example most government systems in India are broken - but not its superior courts which perform better than any other senior courts in any third world country. That is quite an achievement. (Newcastle - and you say I'm an anti-colonialist/UK).

Only an idiot, or a Trump, thinks a system is broken because there are a few crooks in it.
Last edited by Hafiz on Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Egypt’s Greatest Lawyer Dies.

Post by newcastle » Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:32 pm

OK Hafiz.....you've redeemed yourself :lol:

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Re: Egypt’s Greatest Lawyer Dies.

Post by Who2 » Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:43 pm

The French were only here for 3 years until we kicked them out.
But for some reason they still seem to own this Country, it must be a French thing.
Mind you their influences have enhanced this Country no end... 8)
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Re: Egypt’s Greatest Lawyer Dies.

Post by Major Thom » Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:18 am

When a lawyer can work for both accused and defendant the system is open to corruption, or to me the highest bidder. :lol:

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Re: Egypt’s Greatest Lawyer Dies.

Post by Who2 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:21 pm

Years ago I knew a family of Indian London Lawyers. Father, mother, brother & sister.
'Sniffy Imi the son, would to take us out to lunch weekly, trying to break his previous weeks spending limit.
His Mum placed a ceiling on his weekly spends after he bought 2 BMW's in the same week.
They had to flee to the USofA after the SFS investigated them ripping off their clients accounts.
The daughter Saira thought up the idea of Miss Nude UK which lasted 12 months, proudly shown on Men & Motors channel.
Their father was ignorant of his wife's machinations, or so he pleaded.
Saira the (evil dwarf) even wrote a hilarious book using myself & Nick's characters.
All in all one hell of a funny family.... 8)
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Re: Egypt’s Greatest Lawyer Dies.

Post by Brian Yare » Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:38 pm

newcastle wrote:
It's a bit like the issue of women being taken for a ride by gigolos in tourist towns. A subject which often comes up on Egyptian social forums used by foreigners. How often have you seen the riposte from Egyptians ...."well...this happens everywhere"?

I daresay it does....but not anything like to the same degree!

At least not in the UK...unless it's changed dramatically since I worked there :lol:
You were in the sex trade?

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Re: Egypt’s Greatest Lawyer Dies.

Post by newcastle » Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:45 pm

Brian Yare wrote:
newcastle wrote:
It's a bit like the issue of women being taken for a ride by gigolos in tourist towns. A subject which often comes up on Egyptian social forums used by foreigners. How often have you seen the riposte from Egyptians ...."well...this happens everywhere"?

I daresay it does....but not anything like to the same degree!

At least not in the UK...unless it's changed dramatically since I worked there :lol:
You were in the sex trade?
Only at weekends. :roll:

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Re: Egypt’s Greatest Lawyer Dies.

Post by newcastle » Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:09 am

carrie wrote:A judge doesn't have to be corrupt, you have corrupt police officers, you can buy witnesses or intimidate then into giving false evidence, lots of ways to obtain "justice" given enough clout or money.
Apparently so!

Greater Manchester Police ‘took bribes from organised crime gang’

Allegations against Britain’s fourth-biggest force cause £3.5m investigation to collapse

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news ... -fn8zszrhn

Crime can pay....and not just for the criminals :lol:

Aren't our policemen wonderful :urm:

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