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Press Release: Report- In Egypt “No Line to The Horizon to End Systematic Oppression”

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Press Release
Tuesday, 6 April 2017
Report: In Egypt “No Line to The Horizon to End Systematic Oppression”
A Detailed Analytical Study of 50 Military Trials which their Ligation Procedures Have Completed

The Committee for Justice has released its report “No Line
to The Horizon to End Systematic Oppression” today in Arabic and the English version will be released soon. This report is a production of a detailed analytical study of 50 military trials of civilians in Egypt which their ligation procedures have completed internally. The researchers who worked on this report have worked intensively during the past 3 months on studying and analyzing these 50 trials. They got all the trials documents from the detainees’ lawyers and verified all the included data and procedures. The researchers worked with the best standards to make this study achieve its aims. The CFJ has talked previously about this report in its side event which was held on 20 March ’17 in the Human Rights Council in Geneva during the 34th OHCHR session (link) .

The CFJ aims through this report to present a clear picture of the violations against detainees in Egypt, and reasons that led to more than 10 thousand civilian detainees getting deprived of their freedom, as a result to verdicts issued against them by military courts around the country although they are civilians.

The report sheds light on how the successive authorities in Egypt have legitimized military trials of civilians post the January 25,2011 revolution, and how they integrated them into the justice system compared to pre-revolution, when it was an exception. Civil society organizations, law professionals, and activists have continued their efforts, and used diverse means to try to stop military trials for civilians.
This report is distinguished by its verified information as it is based on all the cases’ documents which the researchers got by the help of the lawyers who defend those civilians. You can find attached the database which this report is present in
(link) .

The report is built on a case study of 50 military court cases, in which 485 civilians faced military trials during the period of June 2013 till December 2016. The report shows how these civilians were arbitrarily deprived of their freedom and how several of their fundamental rights were violated, including their right to a fair trial.

The report also explains the root reasons that led to have civilians judged by military courts, as a result to gradual legislative and legal reforms giving overbroad jurisdiction to the military court system. The Committee for Justice views this current situation as engineered by the Egyptian regime.

The report presents 50 cases where civilians faced military trials and the litigation procedures has completed internally (there is no chance for re-trial). The courts did not respect the fundamental principles of independence and impartiality but were used as a tool for intimidation and oppression. The lack of independence of the military court system is clearly demonstrated by the fact that it is subordinated to the jurisdiction of the ministry of defence.

The report demonstrates that the statutory legislations concerning the prosecution of civilians impeded their lawyers of any appeal in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court. Indeed, hundreds of requests were made to denounce the laws regulating military trials of civilians to the Supreme Constitutional Court, because void, unconstitutional, and violating the international law and the right to a fair trial and yet, these requests were all rejected.

Our methodology for this report is established over several parts:

First: Watching and documentation, by following up on the cases under study. The recurring violations of the basic right for a fair trial by more than one military court is an indication that the different military courts use an identical and deliberate policy.
Second: Legal and legislative analysis of the frameworks regulating military trials of civilians in Egypt. We present legal criticism for these frameworks, considering the already acknowledged regulations and laws.
Third: Demonstration of the most significant violations that took place during court sessions and investigation of procedures, according to the study of the documents of these cases.

Accordingly, the report was divided into two sections. The first section tackles the local legal framework, based on which the legislative and legal environment was established to try civilians according to the code of military justice in Egypt.
The second section demonstrates the legal nature of the court and military judge, and looks in a more detailed manner on the way judges are appointed, and how courts are established, and how laws regulating this process are drafted. These two sections aim at pointing out the level of lack of independence, of jurisdiction and impartiality, of the judicial military system which are the primary pillars of justice.

This report is rich in important statistical information which the researchers have worked on very carefully (you can find attached these statistics infographics). The analytical statistics shows that the number of convicts who were included in this study in the Canal provinces is 202 persons in 12 cases compared to 8 persons in one case in the border provinces. And it also shows the number of persons who were convicted by the law of facilities protection is 458 from 485 while the number of underage convicts is 16. And 274 persons were sentenced in absentia while 174 persons were sentenced at their presence.

At the end of this report, The Committee for Justice concluded some recommendations that should be implemented immediately to stop violations and crimes that civilians are victims of by being trailed by military trials in Egypt. These recommendations are as follows:

First: The public prosecutor should nullify his procedural memo number 14 of 2014, and – consequently – the military prosecution should refer all cases it is hearing on basis of this memo to the public prosecution.
Second: The House of Representatives should engage in social dialogue over the law on protecting public facilities number 136 of 2014. This law should be amended or nullified in accordance with Egypt’s international treaty commitments. This law has been subject to criticism on basis of unconstitutionality, and the violations and crimes it has enables against citizens and the justice system in Egypt.
Third: Military Justice law number 25 of 1966 should be amended to limit the jurisdiction of military courts to military personnel accused of military crimes, and crimes taking place inside military units and barracks. Articles 5A bis, 7 and 8 are 48 of this law – which gives the military justice the discretion to determine its own jurisdiction – should be nullified. Civilians should not be referred do military courts and should be heard by the ordinary judge.
Fourth: Cases that have been – or are being – adjudicated by a military justice system should be referred to the public prosecution or the ordinary justice system. They should be retired in accordance with the Egyptian penal code so that suspects may access their right to legal counsel.
Fifth: The President should nullify military court verdicts issued against civilians in accordance with his powers stipulated in articles 98 through 116 of the military justice law, especially in article 99 paragraph 4. Civilians who received verdicts under military courts should be retried.
Sixth: Social dialogue should be initiated over amending article 204 of the Constitution in order to ban military trials of civilians in clear terms.

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