The ICJ today condemned the promulgation of the Counter-Terrorism Law by the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, as a new, repressive move that would erode the rule of law and brush aside fundamental legal and human rights guarantees.
Calls to revise the draft Counter-Terrorism Law by the ICJ and other international and national human rights organizations and stakeholders, including Egypt’s quasi-governmental National Human Rights Council, were disregarded.
“The promulgation of the Counter-Terrorism Law by President el-Sisi expands the list of repressive laws and decrees that aim to stifle dissent and the exercise of fundamental freedoms,” said Said Benarbia, Director of the ICJ’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.
“Egypt’s authorities must ensure the law is not used as a tool of repression and, to this end, comprehensively revise it so that it fully complies with international human rights law and standards,” he added.
In a position paper published on 9 July, the ICJ detailed how the law is inconsistent with, and in numerous ways violates, Egypt’s obligations under international law, including those relating to the right to life, the right to liberty and not to be subjected to arbitrary detention, the right to privacy, and fair trial rights.
Further, the law gives state officials broad immunity from criminal responsibility for the use of force in the course of their duties, including the use of lethal force when it is not strictly necessary to protect lives, grants sweeping surveillance and detention powers to prosecutors, entrenches terrorism circuits within the court system (which have in the past frequently involved fair trial violations), and grants the President far-reaching, discretionary powers to “take the necessary measures” to maintain public security, where there is a “danger of terrorist crimes.”
Alice Goodenough, Legal Adviser, ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme, t: +44 7815 570 834; e: alice.goodenough(a)icj.org
Nader Diab, Associate Legal Adviser, ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme, t: +41 229 793 804; e: nader.diab(a)icj.org
Egypt-Counter-Terrorism Law Promulgated-News-Press releases-2015-ARA (full text in pdf, ARABIC)NewsPress releases