News / Middle East

Report: Crimes Against Humanity Likely in Egypt Protest Deaths

FIILE - Egyptian security forces clash with supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi at Nasr City district in Cairo, Nov. 22, 2013.
FIILE - Egyptian security forces clash with supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi at Nasr City district in Cairo, Nov. 22, 2013.
VOA News

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi should be investigated for possible human rights violations in connection with the killing of hundreds of protesters last year in Cairo.

In a new report Tuesday, the group outlines the conclusions of a yearlong investigation into six weeks of violent crackdowns on protesters who were rallying against the ouster of former leader Mohamed Morsi.

More than 1,000 people were killed in what HRW called an "unprecedented scale" of protester deaths in Egypt as the country's police and security forces "systematically and intentionally used excessive force."

The report said Sissi, who was serving as Egypt's army chief, should be investigated along with Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim and Medhat Menshawy, who led forces that carried out a massively deadly operation to clear out a protest camp.

Warned protesters

The government had warned for days it would move against the camp around the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, which officials said was disruptive and could incite terrorism. 

But the report said warnings about when the action would take place were not sufficient.  

HRW said there was some evidence of protesters attacking security forces at the site, but that the response "amounted to collective punishment of the overwhelming majority of peaceful protesters." 

More than 800 people were killed.

The group said the pattern of responses to the pro-Morsi protests between July 5 and August 17 last year amounted to "grossly disproportionate and premeditated lethal attacks," and that the killings likely amounted to crimes against humanity.

The report said Egypt has not carried out any credible judicial investigations or prosecutions and urged the government to probe those responsible for any rights violations. 

It also recommended security forces stop "unlawful excessive use of force," and for officials to cooperate with Egypt's own fact-finding commission related to the mass killings.

UN investigation

Human Rights Watch also urged the United Nations to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate all human rights violations from the mass killings of protesters in Egypt.

Sissi led the ouster of Morsi, who was Egypt's first democratically elected president but lasted only a year in office before protesters held mass rallies accusing him of trying to monopolize power and failing to fix the country's economy. 

The crackdown against Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood also included arresting many of the group's top leaders.

Ahead of the report's release, two Human Rights Watch officials said Egypt barred them from entering the country.

Executive director Kenneth Roth and Middle East director Sarah Leah Whitson said Monday that authorities held them overnight at the Cairo airport before denying them entry for "security reasons."

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the United States was disappointed the two individuals were not allowed to enter Egypt and that the U.S. encourages the Egyptian government to conduct a transparent investigation of the protester deaths.

You May Like

Video Obama: Action on Climate Change 'Economic, Security Imperative'

President spoke to reporters on sidelines of UN Climate Summit outside Paris, where leaders are working to agree on binding measures

IMF Bets on China’s Resolve to Reform

IMF announcement already raising questions about just how much Beijing is committed to such reforms

What Happened When I Landed in Antarctica

Refael Klein chronicles what it's like to visit one of the coldest, most desolate places on Earth

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Mahfuze from: Egypt
August 12, 2014 9:23 AM
Hey UN, will you stop this bull shit please "CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY..". whose humanity are we talking about..?? these are Islamic terrorist bent on destroying civilization..!!! look at the cultural destruction, mass rape, mass mutilation, mass executions and crucifixions that they have caused... in Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Gaza... the UN is essentially protecting these Islamic scumbags... and allowing them to continue perpetrating these horrific atrocities...!!! what the UN is doing is a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY..!!! listen, I am Christian, i lived all my life in Egypt, let me tell you, if it weren't for Al Sisi, today there will remain one single Christian alive in Egypt.
And now, Turkey is becoming a Muslim Brotherhood State..!! A NATO member with European aspirations that officially supports the same depravity of Hamas ISIL Al Qaeda... THESE are enemies of humanity... fools !!!
In Response

by: Waha from: Egypt
August 12, 2014 3:07 PM
Thank you Mahfuze. finally someone says it like it is. In Gaza, if you are a woman and you laugh in public you will be arrested by Hamas and repeatedly gang raped until you agree to become a suicide bomber to save the honor of your family. That is Hamas. The Muslim Brotherhood instituted the same laws in Egypt. and now Turkey is a Hamas Muslim Brotherhood State... watch and see.
In Response

by: ali bab from: new york
August 12, 2014 1:23 PM
excellent comment and well written
In Response

by: Ali baba from: new york
August 12, 2014 10:36 AM
Muslim brotherhood has a lot of money and hire lawyers to convince Un or human right organization about producing that report. the case is crystal clear. that Muslim brotherhood is a terrorist organization and it has billion from Arab country and Egyptian whom live in Us and Europe. and how long west is being fool about them

by: Ali baba from: new york
August 12, 2014 9:18 AM
There is no crime against Humanity in Egypt. It seems to me that human right organization Has not look at the picture as a whole or Muslim brotherhood lobby want destroy Egyptian Gov. and public opinion. After the removal of morsi.. ,Muslim brotherhood refuse to accept people decision and they pay for poor people to say and protest hoping that their protest will remove the Gov. and restore the control of Muslim brotherhood. They stay in a place called Rabbia el Addawi. The Egyptian Gov. . asked them to go home because It is illegal protest. they dropped leaflet from air plane. they ask them to leave and give them free transportation. when they are In Rabbia El addawia they store weapon and home made bomb.

The Egyptian Gov. has no alternative is use force to disperse them . When the operation to disperse them started ,they use microphone and asked them to leave the place peacefully but they refuse and attack the police. the police has the right to defend themselves. Remember that Muslim brotherhood is a terrorist organization and use violent as ISIS and Osama Bin laden Group . We hear in the news That ISIS is killing minority and commit mass murder. Muslim brotherhood is acting in the same manner. they burnt 80 churches. they kidnapped Christian girls and sold them as a sex slave in Saudi . We should not listen to terrorist organization propaganda. They are liar and they had several chances to leave peacefully but they refuse to understand that violent should not a mean to achieve its goal

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs