Convention Abbreviation: CAT
COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE
CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE
19 OF THE CONVENTION
Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture
74. The Committee considered the second periodic report of Egypt (CAT/C/17/Add.11)
at its 162nd, 163rd and 170th meetings, held on 12 and 18 November
1993 (see CAT/C/SR.162, 163/Add.1 and 170), and adopted the following
conclusions and recommendations:
75. The Committee thanks Egypt for its report and the written replies
to the questions raised by the members of the Committee during its
consideration of the State party's initial report (CAT/C/5/Add.23).
76. It welcomes the willingness of the Government of Egypt to continue
the dialogue with the Committee, as shown by the presence of a large,
high-level delegation, which it thanks for the replies given to its
77. It nevertheless deplores the fact that the report was not prepared
in accordance with the Committee's general guidelines and that the
information does not follow the sequence of articles 2 to 16 of the
Convention. Although the report contains a wealth of information on
legislation, with an accompanying annex in which the articles of the
Convention are compared with some articles of the Constitution and
those of other legislative provisions, it provides very little information
on the application of the Convention in practice, even though the
representative of the State gave other additional information in his
78. It also deplores the fact that the replies given by the Egyptian
delegation were often more general than specific.
79. The Committee considers that it would have been particularly useful
for additional information to have been made available, including
statistics on investigations into allegations of torture, legal proceedings
and sentences handed down against persons responsible for acts of
torture and ill-treatment.
80. The Committee thanks the State party for the core document (HRI/CORE/1/Add.19),
which was prepared in accordance with the consolidated guidelines
for the initial part of reports of States parties to be submitted
under the various international human rights instruments.
81. The Committee regrets that some documents and information on statistical
data needed for a practical understanding of the report were not annexed
to the report at the time of its submission and were not distributed
to the members of the Committee until during the 162nd meeting.
82. The Committee notes with satisfaction that the renewed dialogue
with the State party has enabled it to assess the extent to which
domestic legislation is in keeping with the provisions of the Convention,
as well as the factors and difficulties impeding their application.
83. It also notes that, in general, the legal situation is satisfactory,
in so far as litigants and the Egyptian people seem to have confidence
in the ordinary law courts.
84. It welcomes the fact that non-governmental organizations active
in the field of human rights have the opportunity to express themselves
freely and to visit certain places of detention.
C. Factors and
difficulties impeding the application
of the provisions of the Convention
85. The Committee notes that the state of emergency proclaimed in
Egypt without interruption since 1981 is one of the main obstacles
to the full application of the provisions of the Convention.
86. In the light of a good deal of concordant and specific information
received from a number of reliable non-governmental organizations
and from the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Commission on
Human Rights to examine questions relevant to torture, the Committee
is concerned about the fact that torture is apparently still widespread
87. The Committee is also concerned about shortcomings in suitable
preventive measures to combat torture, including the length and conditions
of police custody and administrative detention and the slow pace of
trials of persons responsible for acts of torture or ill-treatment.
88. It is also concerned about the existence in Egypt of many special
courts, such as the military courts whose functioning would suggest
that they are subordinate to the head of the executive branch, since
some provisions of the Act on the State of Emergency authorize the
President of the Republic to refer cases to the State security courts
and to approve the decisions handed down.
89. Aware that, in recent years, terrorism has created a disturbing
and alarming situation in Egypt and mindful of the fact that it is
the Government's responsibility to combat terrorism in order to maintain
law and order, the Committee nevertheless notes that the different
measures taken or to be taken for that purpose must never result in
non-compliance with the Convention by the State party or in any case
justify torture. It should be recalled in that respect that, under
article 2 of the Convention, no exceptional circumstances whatsoever,
whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political stability,
an order from an superior officer or a public authority or any other
public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
90. The Committee suggests that the State party should provide in
its penal legislation for all forms of torture, fully incorporating
all elements of the definition contained in article 1 of the Convention.
91. The Committee also suggests that the State party should include
in its next periodic report, which is due in 1996, all the details
and information relating to the many questions and inquiries which
were not answered during the discussion.
92. The Committee also suggests that the State party should establish
machinery for a systematic review of interrogation rules, methods
and practices, particularly in police premises, in order to honour
its commitments under article 11 of the Convention.
93. It recommends that the Government of Egypt should continue its
efforts to introduce other reforms to penal legislation, particularly
with regard to the reduction of the excessive powers granted to the
executive by certain legislative provisions and the length and conditions
of police custody and administrative detention.
94. The Committee recommends that, while paying particular attention
to the protection of the rights of persons arrested and detained,
the State party should intensify the educational, training and information
programmes provided for in article 10 of the Convention, for all the
95. The Committee recommends that the Egyptian authorities should
undertake and expedite serious investigations into the conduct of
the police forces in order to establish the truth of the many allegations
of acts of torture and, if the results of the investigations are positive,
bring the persons responsible before the courts and issue and transmit
to the police specific and clear instructions designed to prohibit
any act of torture.
96. The Committee, which appreciates the ratification by Egypt of
most human rights Covenants and Conventions, hopes that the Egyptian
Government will respond favourably to these suggestions and recommendations
and that it will spare no effort to put them into practice.