• August 31, 2014
  • 5 minutes read

Independence of the Judiciary Front Statement on International Day of Enforced Disappearance

Independence of the Judiciary Front Statement on International Day of Enforced Disappearance
The anti-coup Independence of the Judiciary Front (IJF) in Egypt issued the following statement on Saturday, August, 30 – the International Day of the Disappeared:

Enforced disappearance is a crime under international law. It has spread in Egypt under the rule of the murderous military junta, since the illegitimate 2011 coup d’etat. We call for an independent investigation into this heinous crime in Egypt. Moreover, the perpetrators must be held accountable to the human rights agreements signed by Egypt. Ousting the military junta is the first step in achieving justice for the victims.

IJF demands that investigation agencies uphold the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary and start serious independent investigations into involuntary disappearances under military rule, in the transitional period just after the January 25 (2011) Revolution, since the criminal coup d’etat executed by the military junta on July 3, 2013 and since the Rabaa and Nahda massacres. The State and all its institutions are obliged to disclose the fate of those missing.

On the International Day of Enforced Disappearance (August 30), IJF holds the Supreme Judicial Council, the Ministry of Justice and the National Council for Human Rights legally responsible for keeping the file of the ‘disappeared’ firmly closed. IJF further appeals to the Rapporteur on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances of the United Nations to put pressure on Egypt to reveal the fate of missing persons in respect of international agreements signed by the Egyptian state.

IJF condemns all enforced disappearances that occurred under military rule as crimes under international law, and it pledges to prosecute those involved in such crimes, which will not be time-barred by any statute of limitations, and which represent a blatant violation of human rights as this crime affects not only those who go missing but also their relatives, communities and the whole society. In Egypt, this horrid crime also illegitimately removes several rights, including the right to life (when the disappeared are killed) or the right not to be subjected to torture, the right to humane conditions of detention, and the right to a fair trial.

The number of the ‘disappeared’ in the period from January to March 2011 amounted to 1200 Egyptians, according to reports by various rights organizations and confirmed by the Egyptian Council of Ministers’ Center for Information. The number of missing persons after the coup, and after the massacre of Rabaa Square sit-in violent dispersal in August 14, 2013, is two hundred to five hundred people, according to reports by local and international human rights organizations, according to reports from Amnesty International, Human Rights Monitor, Nadeem Center and Karama (Dignity) Center.

Famously, the military junta regime also committed the crime of enforced disappearance against the legitimate elected President Mohamed Morsi, and nine of his top aides, over several months in secret lockups. This calls for great concern over the hundreds of missing people who did not get such attention from the media or human rights organizations.

Everyday, new evidence confirms suspicions that some prisons and illegal detention centers, especially Al-Aezoli prison inside the military zone in Ismailia governorate, are turning into dark dungeons for the ‘disappeared’. Rights organizations received repeated reports and testimonies from survivors of Al-Aezoli prison confirming the existence there of known victims of forced disappearance cases.

In Egypt, ousting the military junta is a legal and constitutional duty, since the generals obstinately stand in the way of achieving justice and accountability against the killers involved in several cases. The oppressive junta has also turned the judiciary into a tool of mass murder not prompt and decisive justice, with its leaders directly involved in hundreds of crimes that will not be time-barred and constitute a legal justification for urgently ousting the junta.

In conclusion, we pay tribute to all the successive waves of revolutionary yet non-violent defiance, which seeks to overthrow the illegitimate military junta, including the ongoing August 30 and forthcoming 9 September popular protests.