Friday, 9 September 2011

Mubarak's trial will give pointers to Egypt's future relationship with power

The trial of the former president Hosni Mubarak is an examination of past actions. Its conduct, however, says as much if not more about the present. And it will also give pointers to the future Egypt's relationship with power.

Putting the former president on trial was one of the main demands of the activists and protesters of what has been dubbed as the 25th January Revolution. Some may be questioning how much of a trial he is actually getting, given the time it took to materialise and the failure of the prosecution to so far mount an effective case.

The key, however, is that an Arab leader is being tried for his actions during his presidency. This is unprecedented in the Arab world. Time will tell if others will follow suit or, if by contrast, they will look aghast at what is happening and move to ensure that it does not happen to them.

That a president is subject to the law like any other citizen — or rather, as any other citizen should have been but was not because of the arbitrariness of the former autocratic regime — is hugely significant whatever the outcome.

It should serve as a warning and a deterrent to any future ruler that he (or just possibly, she) risks being held to account. This should act as a brake on the abuse of power, now that the people have demonstrated that they too are arbiters in the course of politics.

For more news and expert analysis about Egypt, please see Egypt Politics & Security.

© 2011 Menas Associates

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