This time, last year, the world’s
biggest, bloody and brutal massacres were staged by Egyptian Security Forces in
one day in Rabia Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda Squares, amidst international silence.
One year on, and crimes against humanity, even genocide according to international definitions, were committed against peaceful, largely unarmed civilians yet the perpetrators are still free to kill more civilians every day.
Impunity has led to these crimes increasing in intensity and severity, with still no deterrent to the perpetrators. This also encourages thugs and the general public to commit all kinds of crimes, as long as they are not crimes of opposition to the ruling regime. Because now there is no accountability, simply arrests, killings and torture.
The failure to hold accountable all of those involved in such crimes is a flagrant violation of international laws and conventions ratified by Egypt, including the International Covenant on Religious and Political Rights, and the Convention against Torture, in particular Article II, related to the duties of Egypt as a signatory to the Convention to investigate these violations and to hold accountable those involved, in a fair trial, and to give appropriate compensation to the victims and their families, and not to take any exceptional circumstances as an excuse for committing such crimes.
Article II of the Convention states that "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or threat of war, internal political instability or any public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture". Further, the Convention Against Torture guarantees protection for those subjected to violation, who filed a complaint, to protect them and their witnesses also. This certainly does not occur at all in Egypt. On the contrary, when a complaint against any individual in the security apparatus is lodged with authorities, the victim and his family suffer threats, kidnapping, and more torture.
Story beings here…
Three years ago Egyptians sought to change their repressive regime with a democratic one that respects their human rights. They took to the streets in millions and overthrew former president Hosni Mubarak. The Military Council (SCAF) ruled the country for almost a year and a half during which freedoms were restricted and civilians were killed in protests. Elections were held and Egyptians finally had their first ever democratically elected president Dr Mohamed Morsi, who served one year of his four-year term. On 30 June 2013, massive demonstrations took to the street that called for an early presidential elections. In his final public speech, Dr Morsi gave promises and compromises, however the next day, General Abdel Fatah El-Sisi stated that Dr Morsi denied the demands of the people, announced a military coup and placed Dr Morsi in unknown location.
The coup executed by the armed forces, represented in General Al Sisi, fuelled feelings of anger among those belonging to the Islamic current and supporters of the elected President, and even some opponents who wanted to end the rule of President Morsi but didn’t want it to be replace by military rule again. The people then turned out in massive popular demonstrations in all parts of Egypt. Sit-ins were concentrated in key areas, most famous of which is Nahda Square in Giza and Rabaa Al-Adaweya Square in Nasr City. Then, hostile pro-coup media began a relentless smear campaign by inciting violence against the demonstrators and protesters opposed to the coup, accusing them of terrorism, extremism and organised violence.
Groups of supporters of the coup, began a series of
attacks on demonstrations, sit-ins and marches that rejected to the coup.
Thugs, Security and military forces used live ammunitions, tear gas and
birdshots to disperse the crowds, killing hundreds of people in Bayn Al-Sarayat
area, Maspero, Sidi Gaber, the two Republican Guards massacres, Ramsis, Giza
and the Memorial Statue massacre.
A full report on all detailed massacres is available here:
Rabia Al-Adaweya Sit-in
On August 14, 2013 the Cabinet, the Minister of Interior and the Minister of Defense issued a decision to break up the anti-coup sit-ins.
HRM’s researchers gathered testimonies and eyewitness accounts about the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in affirmed the absolutely peaceful nature of the entire camp. Sit-in participants invited local and international media establishments and human rights organizations to come visit the sites and see for themselves whether they are peaceful or not. According to researchers and monitors, the place was fully accessible to all: in the entire sit-in site, there was no closed tent or a place where people were forbidden to inspect.
Researchers also documented some minor clashes or altercations between certain local residents and some of the protesters. But these clashes were simply isolated individual cases, alien to the general character of the sit-in.
Further, researchers reported seeing wooden sticks and batons with some protesters, and also some iron plates used as shields. Inside the square, there were teams of volunteers who tried to repel attacks by thugs. Those wore some self-protection items such as helmets used by construction workers, and body shields to protect the torso area similar to those used by players in some rough contact sports. Sit-in participants also built concrete and brick barriers and used sandbags for protection. They built some concrete walls at the square’s entrance from the ‘Memorial Statue’ side and Youssef Abbas Street.
Official government sources said protesters had firearms and birdshots, but failed to provide any evidence of that, although the square is surrounded by military installations that boast a large number of surveillance cameras which could provide such evidence.
It should be noted that the description of the following events is based on our team of Egyptian and British researchers’ own accounts, as they were present in Rabaa Al-Adaweya Square until the sit-in site was completely evicted and they were injured at the hands of security forces while documenting the massacre. The description of the event is also based on a collection of more than 134 testimonies by the injured, families of victims and other eyewitnesses, as well as a large number of videos recorded by cameras of some survivors of the dispersal.
At 6:30AM, security forces and army troops, along with a large number of policemen in heavy gear, as well as bulldozers, surrounded the square from all sides. Then, bulldozers began to move in from all directions toward the center of the square. Protesters inside threw stones at bulldozers and security forces coming at them. The police responded with an extremely heavy barrage of tear gas and birdshots, injuring a large number of people.
A number of doctors and first aid volunteers set up 17 points as field hospitals, with raised flags on which they clearly wrote ‘Field Hospital’. Doctors made a point of putting on full official medical uniforms as they began to receive the wounded. Half an hour after the start of the armed attack, all ambulances withdrew completely from the square on orders from the Ministry of Health, as it specifically affirmed. Only one ambulance remained, refusing to leave the square, and continued to transport the injured and dead to the field hospitals with the help of some motorcycles and civilian vehicles, until a sniper killed the ambulance driver with a live bullet to the head at 1:00PM.
At about 8:00AM, bulldozers surrounded the square from
all sides, while security forces cordoned off the square completely, blocking
all entrances and exits. They used loudspeakers to broadcast a statement
calling on demonstrators to get out of the square, saying that disbanding the
sit-in is being carried out in accordance with the law, and monitored by many
human rights organizations and the Public Prosecutor. This was later denied by
the Public Prosecutor.
Similarly, no human rights organization reported overseeing the process of eviction. Researchers also confirmed that there were no safe exits as announced by troops on loudspeakers. Security forces taking part in the eviction deliberately killed anyone who tried to get out of the square. There was even no way to evacuate the bodies or the injured from the square. After surrounding the square from all sides, forces involved in the dispersal of the sit-in fired high-caliber bullets, birdshots and tear-gas canisters at demonstrators who only had stones to defend themselves. This shooting spree continued until 1:30PM, killing and injuring a large number of demonstrators. The makeshift hospitals were completely overwhelmed.
Later on, a large number of Interior Ministry forces and army snipers appeared on the rooftops of military buildings around the square, and deliberately fired at demonstrators, with direct aim at head, heart or abdomen killing them instantly. Meanwhile, Police and army helicopters flew extensively over the square, and opened fire on protesters.
The slaughter continued nonstop, from all entrances to the square. Then, security forces began targeting the field hospitals directly, shooting at them, and especially at anyone carrying a camera.
The attacking forces continued to move forward slowly, until they reached the main field hospital, at which the dead bodies and the injured were gathered after the troops began targeting other field hospitals across the square.
Forces then stormed the field hospital and killed some of the wounded in front of their families and also killed some doctors who refused to abandon wounded patients. Shortly afterwards, the forces claimed full control of the square, and subsequently set fire to all the tents, even those where many wounded had taken shelter. The attacking forces also set fire to the field hospital, burning many other corpses. Residents of Rabia Al-Adaweya told HRM’s researchers that they air smelt of burnt meat which remained in the square for several days.
Security forces also arrested 790 people who tried to
come out of the square.
Some eyewitnesses stated that army and police snipers shot dead some protesters who had been arrested, while they surrendered with their hands up. Cameras recorded some of those scenes.
Researchers affirmed that what happened was a crime against humanity unprecedented in Egypt’s history, and had nothing to do with evicting sit-ins in any way. The aim was not evicting the sit-in, but was to deliberately kill the largest possible number of protesters from the opposition.
Researchers documented forces involved in the eviction of the sit-in killing women and children as well as activists and journalists, and targeted a young girl, barely seventeen years of age, whose only crime was carrying a camera.
This mass-killing crime resulted in the death of almost 2000 unarmed protesters shot directly and fatally in the head, neck and torso areas. The HRM team of researchers documented testimonies by forensic experts indicating that some gunshot wounds were caused by heavy weapons and anti-tank fire resulting in explosion of the entire skull or chest cavity with a diameter of ten centimeters. Researchers documented a large number of these injuries, as mentioned in the attached report, and work is underway, documenting the rest of cases.
This violent crackdown also injured more than five thousand unarmed
protesters, 790 were arrested, nearly three hundred people are still missing
and fifty charred bodies are as yet unidentified.
Researchers reported blatant intransigence on the part of authorities refusing to issue burial permits and death certificates, delaying the burial of bodies for more than 48 hours, forcing some families to bury the bodies of their loved ones without documentation of death.
Nahda and Other Egypt Squares Massacres
On Wednesday August 14, 2013, horrific attacks by the security forces similar to those in Rabaa were launched in all liberty squares across the nation where unarmed protesters rallied against the coup. Coup security forces attacked Nahda square using the same tactics and at the same time as in Rabaa, burnt a number of tents with unarmed protestors still inside, as recorded by many cameras. They used internationally prohibited arms and utmost lethal force according to witnesses and survival of the massacre. The attacks and non-stop shooting at the protesters lasted 14 hours. Finally, the sit-in was evacuated at 8:00PM, killing at least 90 protesters.
They further violently attacked all marches out to condemn those massacres in all provinces of Egypt.
The attached report lists some of the deaths and some cases of injury. Also attached is a video report, comprising clips showing these crimes against humanity.
Findings of HRM’s team:
1. Utmost lethal force was used against the unarmed protesters in their Sit-ins as well as in protests.
2. Internationally prohibited arms were used against civilians.
3. Shooting was indiscriminate which resulted in random killings of women, children and the elderly.
4. The aim was not to evict the square, but rather to kill as many protesters as possible.
5. HRM documented the killing of 1182 civilians who died immediately as a result of being shot by the police and the military in Rabaa Al-Adaweya.
6. Exchange of firearms was not witnessed by our researchers nor by witnesses of the forced dispersal.
7. Safe exits were not made for the protesters, which makes this massacre amount to a genocide and a crime against humanity according to the international law.
8. Peaceful plans were provided to General Sisi and Mohamed Ibrahim, Medhat El-Menshawy, head of Special Forces, Mohamed Farid Tohamy, General Intelligence Services and other senior officials, however a bloody plan was chosen.
9. A fact-finding mission by the National Council for Human Rights, although biased was conducted, however investigations by the prosecution or court were not opened.
10. The Interior Ministry did not announce the names of police officers the NCHR claims were killed, which is evidently unusual.
11. Full impunity was granted to all police officers and military personnel, and a carte-blanche was given for them to kill and use utmost force without being held accountable, according to official’s statements.
12. Thousands of complaints were submitted by families of victims to the Prosecution, however none of them were investigated.
1. UN Security Council must convene immediately to condemn the massacres conducted at the hands of Egyptian security forces and order the opening of a case before the ICC and other international courts.
2. Full and impartial investigations into the massacre should be conducted by a UN Fact-Finding mission.
3. Countries supplying the government with lethal force to be used against its civilians should be held accountable, including General Abdelfattah Al-Sisi, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, Medhat El-Menshawy, head of Special Forces, Mohamed Farid Tohamy, General Intelligence Services and all senior officials as well as police officers and personnel’s who planned, lead and participated in the massacre.
4. Complete disarmament of live ammunitions with security forces should be done.
5. Egyptian and international courts must investigate the killing of protesters and bring to justice all those responsible for the killing.