Group sends recommendations to newly established fact-finding committee

Group sends recommendations to newly established fact-finding committee

Muslim brotherhood supporters run for cover during clashes with police in Helwan on the outskirts of Cairo on December 27, 2013. At least 148 pro-Islamist protesters were arrested after they rallied in several Egyptian cities, police said, as the authorities vowed to repress demonstrations by the Muslim Brotherhood.  (AFP PHOTO/KHALED KAMEL)

The number of deaths resulting from violence in political clashes is estimated to be 2273.

There are some concerning shortcomings with the fact-finding committee established by the presidency to investigate incidents of violence since 30 June, said the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR).

The committee, formed by decree by interim President Adly Mansour, is tasked with compiling and documenting information and evidence regarding violent outbreaks that have occurred since 30 June, when large-scale protests against ousted President Mohamed Morsi occurred.

The commission, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was given six months from its official formation on Tuesday to present its findings and conclusions to the presidency.

“The decree also stresses that the commission will enjoy full independence, and obligates all state entities and institutions to cooperate fully with it,” said the foreign ministry.

The newly formed body is responsible for investigating “crimes against citizens” and identifying the perpetrators, and will also be able to examine previous investigations and other incidents in which no investigations took place.The commission will also provide a framework for protecting witnesses.

The decree appointed Fouad Abdel Moneim Riad the fact-finding committee’s head. Riad was a judge on the Tribunal for War Crimes in the former Yugoslavia. Iskandar Ghattas, former assistant to the Minister of Justice for international cooperation, was made deputy head of the commission.

EIPR in a Wednesday statement said it had sent six recommendations to the commission. The civil rights organisation said the commission needed to investigate incidents of sectarian violence, as well as “unprecedented sexual assaults on women.”

The group also stressed the vital importance of protecting witnesses. EIPR also recommended the commission consult with civil society organisations, especially when investigating the use of violence and force by organs of the state.

“The commission should provide clear recommendations for legal and institutional reform,” said EIPR, adding that such recommendations should include reform for security institutions and amending the legislation governing them.

Earlier this week a group of human rights organisations estimated the number of deaths as a result of violence since Morsi’s ouster to be 2,665 including 2,273 in political clashes. The death toll for July and August was calculated to be 976.

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