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Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture, Egypt, U.N. Doc. A/49/44, paras. 74-96 (1994).



Convention Abbreviation: CAT


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:

A. Introduction
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 questions.

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 oral introduction.

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.

B. Positive aspects
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.

D. Subjects of concern
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 in Egypt.

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.

E. Recommendations
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 officials concerned.

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.


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