Egypt’s transition: a fundamentally flawed process

In a position paper published today, the ICJ sets out its concerns about measures taken by the transitional authorities in Egypt, in particular the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF).

The SCAF has exercised comprehensive control over the constitution-making process, de facto extended the state of emergency and failed to address widespread and continuing human rights violations, the ICJ points out.

The position paper further highlights the catalogue of opaque, rushed and non-consensual policies adopted by the SCAF throughout the transition process that have largely served, among other adverse consequences, to shield the armed forces from any form of accountability to, or oversight by, a civilian power.

“The unilateral promulgation by the SCAF of Constitutional Declarations, as well as the control it has exercised over the drafting of a new Constitution, has infringed the right of Egyptians to take part fully in the conduct of public affairs and to participate in the constitution-making process”, said Said Benarbia, Middle East & North Africa Senior Legal Adviser at the ICJ. “Such measures have failed to break with the policies and practices of the past and to establish a genuine democracy in Egypt.”

No meaningful reform

The ICJ notes that the transition process has been further undermined by the failure of the transitional authorities to undertake meaningful reforms, including by upholding the Rule of Law, ensuring the independence of the judiciary, and ending the cycle of impunity that has long prevailed in Egypt. While the declaration of the state of emergency was not formally renewed, the legal framework related to it remains in force.

“The ICJ calls on the transitional authorities to repeal Emergency Law 162/1958 and to dismantle the associated legal framework, including the use of military courts to try civilians”, Benarbia said. “Egyptian authorities must address the legacy of human rights violations in Egypt and provide for constitutional and other guarantees for the non-repetition of these violations, in particular by holding those responsible to account and providing for meaningful redress for victims.”

For more information:

Saïd Benarbia, Middle East & North Africa Senior Legal Adviser, ICJ, t +41 22 979 3817 ; said.benarbia(at)

Situation in Egypt Position Paper (Download the position paper in English)

NewsPress releases