Centre for International Law Research and Policy
M Cherif Bassiouni (1937–2017) was not only one of the founders of modern international criminal law, with a prolific academic career based at DePaul University, but remained genuinely interested in his homeland Egypt and the Arab world more generally. His 1972 monograph Storm over the Arab World: A People in Revolution gave a panoramic overview of the situation in the mainly-Muslim world. Forty years later, during tumultuous 2011–13, Bassiouni wrote a detailed chronicle of events in Egypt for his wide circle of friends and contacts, with comments. That material has now been turned into a CUP book that offers a thorough description and analysis of ‘the Egyptian people’s 2011 Revolution for freedom, justice, and human dignity, and its aftermath’. It provides an in-depth treatment of the profound demographic, economic and educational challenges facing Egypt. His legal expertise is also brought to bear on Egypt’s ‘Justice System in Crisis’, the ‘Constitutional Quagmire’, and the ‘Accountability Gap’. How fortuitous for Egyptians to be presented with such a wealth of materials and perspectives on their own contemporary history, painstakingly prepared by one of the Arab world’s most prominent champions of international law and order. By contrast, the Iranians were not as fortunate in the years following the 1979 revolution in terms of an informed deconstruction of what was actually happening to their country. As is the case with Iran, Bassiouni believed that Egypt’s ‘geopolitical importance makes it indispensable to the stability of the Middle East, and thus important to the world’. He made it his life mission to serve both his country and international law. He managed better than most.