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Cooperation to date
Whilst established cooperation exists with other countries in the Arab world, above all with Jordan, cooperation with Egypt is still being developed. The Egyptian institutions are very interested in cooperating with the IRZ. The Northern Africa/Middle East project division was established in the second half of 2011 in order to put the cooperation with Egypt, amongst other states, on a broad and long-lasting basis.
Legal policy starting point
The parliamentary elections, in particular, marked the post-revolutionary events. Whilst the liberal or secular parties and groups tended to splinter or achieve somewhat sobering results, parties with a religious, Islamic background led the field by far. Although the electoral victories were not unexpected, particularly in the Western world many questions remain open as to how the new governments will act in practice when it comes to core topics of the Western understanding of democracy:
- secular state model
- freedom of opinion and religion
- position of women
- religious minorities
Regardless of these circumstances, there is a need for consultation in Egypt in the entire legal field. The following areas are particularly worth mentioning here:
- the independence of the judiciary, judicial professional law, judicial ethics
- organisation of authorities and courts
- compliance with international human rights standards in criminal prosecution and in the prison system
- legal policy procedures in a parliamentary democracy
- the organisation, training and status of the legal profession against the background of the principles of a fair trial
- the reform of commercial law (banking law, the law on insolvency, the law on investment, the law on execution, industrial property protection, intellectual property)
- questions related to corruption and compliance
Less relevance, however, is attached to questions of “institution building”, since Egypt has a developed system of authorities and courts. The IRZ’s work will therefore concentrate on content-related and organisational questions.
The ultimate goal of all activities of the IRZ Foundation in Egypt is to provide support for this partner state on its path towards a modern, democratic system which both ensures compliance with human rights and meets the requirements of a modern market economy.
The prime principle of all activities is the concept of “local ownership”, i.e. all planned activities were discussed extensively with the local partners during several fact-finding missions to determine the country’s requirements and are largely based on their analysis of needs and proposals. The IRZ Foundation primarily offers activities with potential multipliers, for instance in the context of the further training of judges, which are aimed at achieving an efficient and sustainable cooperation with the funds available. This also includes the goal of organising several activities with a specific institution in the course of one year.
To accommodate the regional concept, the IRZ also organises joint activities with representatives from Egypt and Tunisia. One example in this context is the workshop on the topic of “corruption and compliance” with a focus on Egypt and Tunisia, implemented in March 2012, which was organised in cooperation with the Centre for International Peace Operations in Berlin. Participants from both countries will also be invited to Cairo to participate in a “summer school” on the topic of “Modern administrative and commercial law" supported by the German Academic Exchange Service which will be followed by four-week internships in Germany.
- Division for International Cooperation of the Egyptian Ministry of Justice
- Constitutional Court
- Ministry of Economic Affairs
The Egyptian side has repeatedly expressed its strong interest in a long-standing cooperation with Germany and the IRZ Foundation. The cooperation with Egypt is to be continued far beyond 2012 within the framework of the respective funds available. A starting-point for the further programme planning will be in particular those questions and new thematic issues which have arisen during the activities outlined in this context.