Freedom & Justice Party and members of Egypt’s Shura Council appoint international legal team to advise on crisis in Egypt
Egypt’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and members of the Shura Council (the Upper House of the Egyptian Parliament) have jointly appointed a high level legal team following the coup d’état and subsequent massacre of protestors.
A solicitor and partner of leading human rights law firm ITN Solicitors, has been commissioned to establish a team of lawyers who will advise on the status in international and constitutional law of the coup d’état, the unlawful detention of members of the democratically elected government and criminal acts that have been committed since 3 July 2013.
The legal team comprises some of the world’s most distinguished legal minds. The team includes former Director of Public Prosecutions, Lord Ken Macdonald QC, South African International Lawyer and former UN Human Rights Special Rapporteur, Professor John Dugard SC, and renowned human rights barrister, Michael Mansfield QC.
With immediate effect, the legal team will investigate allegations of crimes against humanity committed by members of the military junta since the 3 July 2013. On 14 August 2013, the Egyptian military were reported to have killed over 638 people. Some reports put the total number at over 2000. This follows the killing of 51 civilians on 8 July outside an officer’s club in Cairo and the deaths of 74 others on 27 July many of whom were reported to have been shot in the head and chest.
The actions of the military junta would appear to be a crime against humanity as they were acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against the civilian population.
The acts under investigation can be prosecuted both in domestic and international jurisdictions. The legal team has put the junta on notice that an investigation has commenced and has requested access to evidential material in the possession of the Egyptian police and military.
The solicitor who is coordinating the legal team said ‘It is crucial that the actions of the military in Egypt are quickly and thoroughly investigated and that those found to have committed crimes against humanity are arrested and brought within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court without delay. In addition, the UN Security Council should take immediate steps to prevent further atrocities occurring in Egypt.
Mike Mansfield QC said ‘The essence of this initiative is respect for the rule of law, the fundamental rights of democratic self determination and to life itself. Without accountability for their violation through the organs of international justice there will be a steady descent into a quagmire governed by vindictive retribution and the sword of hatred’.
Professor John Dugard said ‘It is imperative that the actions of the Egyptian Military junta be carefully examined in the context of human rights and international humanitarian law and that all jurisdictional avenues be explored for the prosecution of those responsible for the commission of international crimes’.