High school students take part in a protest against the cancellation and postponement of exams after a series of exam leaks, in front of the parliament in Cairo, Egypt June 27, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany


Navigating the Storm: Civil society and ambiguous transitions in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia

Noha Aboueldahab
Release Date: February 1, 2018

Prosecutions were central to the transitional justice process in the 5 years immediately following the 2010–2011 Arab Spring uprisings. It is no surprise, then, that many civil society actors prioritized criminal accountability through various strategies. Given the restrictive environment that dominates both the pre- and post-transition period in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, what strategies did civil society devise to advance transitional justice? Noha Aboueldahab argues that civil society pursued three primary strategies designed to grapple with turbulent transitions that have morphed into renewed forms of repression. First, nongovernmental organisations that were established both before and after the uprisings have persistently prioritized the documentation of human rights abuses. Second, individual lawyers and lawyers working on behalf of civil society organizations representing victims have been persistent in their litigation attempts, despite politicized and weak judiciaries. Third, this litigation has emphasized economic crimes and corruption, in part in response to civil society strategies that aimed to generate accountability for such crimes, even if it meant that responsibility for decades of human rights violations would not be established.

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