World Bulletin / News Desk
A legal team appointed by Egypt’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) announced on Monday that it lodged a complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) asking it to investigate crimes that had been committed by the military regime since last year's coup.
The army takeover had deposed democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi in July and clamped down violently on anti-coup protests.
Former UN Human Right Special Rapporteur Professor John Dugard, International Criminal Court barrister Rodney Dixon, and the FJP legal team led by solicitor Tayab Ali held a press meeting on the ICC appeal in British capital London on Monday.
The group said the complaint submitted to the ICC includes detailed proof of the criminal acts perpetrated by the military regime such as murder, serious harm to mental or physical health, unlawful imprisonment and torture.
The appeal will allow ICC prosecutors to investigate "allegations of crimes against humanity perpetrated by the military regime" following the July 2013 coup.
"In order for Egypt to return to democratic progress, it is essential that the people responsible for the violence following the coup are held accountable for their crimes,” Ali said.
“There is no hope for democracy and the rule of law in Egypt unless international legal institutions do the job they have been created to do."
The legal team members gave details of the formal complaint during the meeting, with Ali citing "overwhelming" evidence he received from witnesses giving firsthand accounts of what they saw and experienced after the army took over.
In July last year, the Egyptian armed forces suspended the constitution and seized power citing popular protests against President Morsi’s rule. The army, and the interim government it supports, led a bloody crackdown on anti-coup protesters, killing hundreds and wounding thousands during and after a three-month-long state of emergency.
ICC legal expert and barrister Rodney Dixon said the evidence “shows that the acts alleged were widespread and systematic."
He said the ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda would have the say on whether to open a probe.
"By launching an investigation, the ICC prosecutor will send a clear signal that the killings and abuses will not go unpunished and must end,” he said.
“Whatever happens in the future of Egypt, these crimes cannot be swept under the carpet. They have to be investigated and the ICC is in the position to do that right now."
Members of the legal team are expected to meet Bensouda in the coming days and weeks to follow the latest on their submission.
Egypt won't reverse Brotherhood 'terrorist' designation
Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmi said on Monday that his government will not reverse a decision to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a "terrorist" group.
"We will not reverse the decision," he told a joint press conference with his Algerian counterpart Ramtane Lamamra ahead of his return to Egypt after a two-day visit to Algeria.
The Egyptian government officially designated the Brotherhood a "terrorist group" almost two weeks ago.
The decision came one day after a bombing attack at a security headquarters in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura killed 16 people.
The government blamed the attack on the brotherhood, which vehemently denied any involvement.
Fahmi urged Arab countries to follow Egypt's suit by labeling the Brotherhood as a "terrorist group" under an anti-terror agreement signed by all Arab countries.
Seventeen of the Arab League's 22 member states have signed the agreement, but only 13 of them have ratified it.
The agreement allows the deportation of persons whose names are on terrorist lists.
Lamamra, for his part, said Algeria does not interfere in Egypt's internal affairs.
"Algeria recognizes countries, not regime or governments," he said, in response to criticism by some Algerian opposition figures to Fahmi's visit.Last Mod: 07 Ocak 2014, 09:43