The ICJ today called on the Egyptian authorities to put an end to its use of unlawful and lethal force as it pursues an excessive and violent crackdown on protesters.
The ICJ also called on the authorities to promptly, impartially and fully investigate the allegedly unlawful killings of more than 80 people who were reportedly fired on by security forces in a rally in Cairo in support of ousted President Mohamed Morsi on 27 July.
Large-scale rallies were held when the head of the armed forces, General Abdel Fattah El Sisi, called on citizens to grant the military a mandate to fight “terrorism and violence”.
The ICJ is also concerned at reports indicating that the government may be poised to grant arrest powers to the Egyptian Armed Forces.
“The Egyptian authorities must promptly, fully, and impartially investigate the actions of the security of forces, involving alleged unlawful killings and ill-treatment of protesters with a view to holding accountable those responsible,” said Wilder Tayler, ICJ Secretary General. “The authorities must also ensure that, in accordance with international law and standards, security officers exercise force only in a proportionate manner and may use lethal force only when strictly unavoidable to protect lives.”
Since the unlawful seizure of power by the Army and the ouster of President Morsi, more than 130 persons said to be supporters of the former President have reportedly been killed as a result of the unlawful and disproportionate use of force by security forces, including firing with live ammunition.
The ICJ is concerned that the ongoing attacks on protesters, and the impunity that continues to prevail over them, will further contribute to the deterioration of the rule of law and the human rights situation in Egypt.
To prevent such deterioration, the Egyptian Army must carry out its security functions so as to protect the enjoyment and legitimate exercise of human rights by all. It must also ensure a quick and steady transition of power to a legally constituted civilian authority.
Said Benarbia, ICJ Senior Legal Adviser of the Middle East and North Africa Programme, tel: 41 22 979 38 17, e-mail: said.benarbia(a)icj.org
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