Egypt’s deposed government filed a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC), requesting investigations into what it described as crimes committed by the military against its members.
The complaint accused the military of staging a coup d’etat against the country’s first elected President Mohamed Morsi and his government, which was followed by the detention of its members and the usage of “extreme force to remove civilians who gathered to protest against the coup,” according to a printed statement issued by Irvine Thanvi Natas Solicitors on Monday.
“In November 2013 the legal team detailed evidence that had been gathered during their investigation which showed a prima facie case that the military, police and political members of the regime had committed crimes against humanity against Egyptian civilians protesting against the coup,” the statement said.
Since July 3, when days of massive protests led to the toppling of Morsi, hundreds of mostly-Muslim Brotherhood supporters were killed and thousands others were detained. Violence and arrests escalated following the government’s decision on December 25 to designate the group a terrorist organisation.
“The complaint, which was submitted to the ICC on 20 December 2013, includes detailed and compelling evidence that the criminal acts perpetrated by the military regime include murder, unlawful imprisonment, torture, persecution against an identifiable group, enforced disappearance of persons and other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health. The evidence shows that the acts alleged were widespread and systematic,” the statement said.
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Ongoing unrest in the Arab world’s most populous country has drawn concern from several countries.
US top diplomat John Kerry "expressed concern about the interim Egyptian government's December 25 terrorist designation of the Muslim Brotherhood, and recent detentions and arrests," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement on December 29.
Members of the legal team are expected to meet with the ICC prosecutor over the coming days and weeks in order to support the work the ICC must now undertake.
Tayab Ali, head of the legal team, said “It is essential that the people of Egypt unite to rebuild democracy. This cannot happen until those who have committed crimes against humanity have been held to account”.