June 30 Fact-Finding Committee Announces Final Report

The June 30 fact-finding committee said on Wednesday that the first party to open fire during the forcible dispersal of a pro-Mohamed Mursi camp in August 2013 was that of the protesters.

The committee, established by former interim President Adly Mansour to investigate violent acts which took place since June 2013, offered its vision for the dispersal of the pro-Mursi Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in during a press conference at the Shura Council building in downtown Cairo.

Committee head Fouad Abdel Moneim Riad said the first death during the Rabaa dispersal was that of a policeman. He added that attacks against security forces came from all directions, which caused security forces to “lose their focus” leading to a reaction which left a large number of victims. Riad noted that the large death toll could have been avoided.

The account matches that of the state-affiliated National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), which had accused “armed assailants” of shooting dead a policeman on August 14, 2013 in a report it issued on Rabaa’s dispersal last March. The council added that the shooting led to the start of sporadic clashes between protesters and security forces dispersing the Rabaa sit-in.

Riad said the Rabaa sit-in began as a peaceful assembly on June 28, 2013, yet it lost its peaceful nature as protesters started to pick up arms over time. He blamed the authorities for allowing the sit-in to grow over the weeks and allowing weapons into it without “taking precautions”.

The committee head described the timing of the dispersal as “late”.

“If the dispersal happened right away, the number of victims would have been less,” Riad said.

The committee showed a video during the press conference of footage of some of the most violent acts witnessed in Egypt last year. The footage included the events of the Republican Guards clashes in July 2013, the Rabaa and Nahda sit-ins’ dispersal in August 2013 and violence on university campuses during the past academic year.

The some of the videos showed armed protesters attacking security forces. None of the videos showed security forces exercising violence.

International watchdog Human Rights Watch also released a report last August on the dispersal as well as other violent events after a year-long investigation.

The report, entitled “All According to Plan: The Rabaa Massacre and Mass Killings of Protesters in Egypt,” accused Egypt’s security personnel of “systematically” killing at least 1,150 pro-Mursi protesters in July and August 2013. It added that such killings “probably amount to crimes against humanity.”

The June 30 fact-finding committee submitted on Sunday its final report to Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Sisi ordered the referral of the report to the cabinet to study it and send it to the “concerned authorities”, a presidency statement read.

Mansour ordered the committee’s formation last December to gather data and evidence on events that occurred during and after the June 30 protests which led to Mursi’s military ouster following mass protests against his rule.

Muslim Brotherhood members have often refused to cooperate with the committee, under the pretext that it is affiliated with the authorities.

Riad has repeatedly described the committee as “neutral” and denied its affiliation with the government.

Source : Aswat Masriya