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Arab Human Development in the Twenty-first CenturyThe Primacy of Empowerment$
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Bahgat Korany

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9789774166587

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774166587.001.0001

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From the Law of the Ruler to the Rule of Law

From the Law of the Ruler to the Rule of Law

Chapter:
(p.27) Chapter 2 From the Law of the Ruler to the Rule of Law
Source:
Arab Human Development in the Twenty-first Century
Author(s):

Mhamed Malki

Publisher:
American University in Cairo Press
DOI:10.5743/cairo/9789774166587.003.0002

Viewed through the lens of the rule of law, which originated and evolved within European culture, the condition in Arab states is confounding. These states are not lacking in laws or institutions, and their accession to international human rights conventions has increased in recent decades. Yet these countries remain far from the logic and culture of the rule of law. The rule of law requires more than a constitution and a set of formal rules. In the absence of a conducive environment, achieving these conditions has proven difficult. Concepts such as the state, power, political culture, and awareness of the law and human rights must be reconsidered in order to explain the marked resistance to the rule of law in Arab countries. The rule of law should empower citizens and encourage structural reforms. There are no grounds for accepting the notion of an “Arab exception” that would regard countries in the region as incapable of positive change. Change is possible in Arab states under the proper conditions. The events of the Arab Spring—despite setbacks—confirmed this view, proving the importance of the rule of law in changing the workings of the state and the performance of its institutions.

Keywords:   rule of law, Arab state, empowerment, constitution, freedom of the press, legitimacy

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