President Adly Mansour
To gather information and evidence surrounding violence that unfolded on and after June 30, 2013, to evaluate all relevant previous investigations, and to submit findings to the president within six months.
To collect testimony from influential persons and visit sites of violence; to review media and human rights reports; to review lawsuits, prosecutorial investigations, and government reports; to employ technicians, officials, and experts from public and nongovernmental organizations; and to investigate torture claims by visiting prisons. The fact-finding committee issued weekly reports, gave media interviews, and published contact information through media outlets.
Dr. Fouad Abdel Moneim Riyadh, Iskandar Ghattas, Dr. Hazem Atlam, Dr. Muhammad Badran, Dr. Fatma Khafagy, and Mohsen Awad. Technical subcommittee: Omar Marwan, Hisham Ahmed, Khaled Osman, Ihab al-Meniawy, Muhammad al-Sayyid, Nermine Asmar, Hassan al-Serki, Ashraf Labi Muhammad Agag, Ahmed Abul Azm, Iman al-Ghamri, Ola Radi, Walid Mahmoud, Ihab Sorour, Mustafa Sami, Hassan Youssef, Muhammad Abu Shadi, Muhammad Ahmed, Dr. Ahmed Zakareya al-Shalq, Dr. Saheer Lotfi, and Dr. Hassan Sanad.
At the end of the six-month investigation period, the fact-finding committee requested a three-month extension, and thereafter an additional two-month extension. On November 26, 2014, and after numerous site visits, subcommittee meetings, and 47 general meetings, the fact-finding committee released a 20-page summary of its final report to the media. The full report was never made public. The report summary described the political climate prior to the June 30 events, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power and the birth of the Tamarod movement, before discussing events that occurred around and after June 30, 2013. The findings of the summary focused largely on the August violence in Raba’a al-Adaweya Square.
- According to the report summary, activists planned a large anti-Morsi protest to occur on June 30, 2013, marking the one-year anniversary of his presidency.
- Ahead of these events, the Muslim Brotherhood staged a series of pro-Morsi demonstrations; the group held a rally in Raba’a on June 21 and organized sit-ins in Raba’a and Nahda Squares on June 28. The report argues that these protests were violent and disturbing, prompting citizens to file 108 complaints with the Ministry of Interior. In response, the ministry publicly announced it would disrupt the sit-ins after August 14, if they were not already disbanded by then.
- Also according to the report summary, on August 14, police surrounded Raba’a at 6:00 a.m. At 6:45 a.m., an armed individual participating in the sit-in fired at police forces and initiated a violent clash between police and pro-Morsi protesters.
- Witnesses reported that police forces progressed from issuing warnings to using water hoses, tear gas, and live ammunition; police reported that protesters used guns, knives, chemical weapons, and bombs.
- Over the course of the day, eight police and 607 civilians were killed, while 156 police and 1,492 civilians were injured. Of the 363 bodies examined postmortem, all were victims of gunfire.
- The report summary then went on to describe the Nahda sit-in, the Republican Guard events, and the Manassa march.
The report ultimately determined that the Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins were not peaceful before or after the dispersal, that the protesters had fair warning of the police raid, that the police were intending to clear the square rather than kill protesters, and that the police use of force increased gradually for the sake of self-defense. The report blamed sit-in leaders, armed individuals, police forces, and lingering protesters for the violence.
The fact-finding committee made a number of extensive recommendations in its report summary, including:
- that the government compensate nonviolent victims, fight extremism by meeting low-income citizens’ basic needs, separate religious and political activities, and protect free expression that does not encourage violence;
- that police promote nonviolent conflict resolution and negotiation practices, increase surveillance of police stations, reconsider the use of birdshot, and better respect civilian rights;
- that cultural, educational, and religious associations raise awareness of human rights and democracy, promote a culture of peaceful protest, promote ideals of citizenship, and study violence as well as nonviolent solutions to it;
- that the legislature refine protest laws and consider witness protection legislation;
- that investigators announce findings promptly and continue investigating the Manassa and Raba’a events; and
- that the media hire disciplined journalists, end media campaigns that promote hatred or violence, create programs that promote dialogue and facts, and call on families to teach children principles of peaceful citizenship.
Although the investigation at hand was intended to be “independent,” equipped with virtually limitless funding and access to government sources, the fact-finding committee largely failed to present a balanced narrative of events. The committee took into account testimony from representatives of a few churches, universities, and the Ministry of Interior, but did not publish any testimony from protesters. The committee also failed to verify facts such as casualty counts; instead, it unquestionably accepted government data that was otherwise widely disputed by independent civil society organizations. As a result, the fact-finding committee’s report summary featured a number of unjustified claims and unsubstantiated facts.
Overall, the report summary appears biased in favor of the government. It repeatedly defends the actions of the Ministry of Interior and police as acts of self-defense, directly contradicting Human Rights Watch, the National Council on Human Rights, and civil society organizations that have consistently accused security and government actors of using unnecessary and excessive force against civilians in the incidents at hand. The report summary uses strange and illogical reasoning; it insists, for example, that police motivations were nonviolent because two specific crowds of protesters were unharmed. The fact-finding committee—composed of multiple judges with strong anti-Muslim Brotherhood views—also seemed biased against the Brotherhood; the report summary repeatedly associates the group with terrorism and blames them for violence committed by the police. Although the report acknowledges harm done to Christian properties, it blames the Brotherhood, rather than the government, for the culture of sectarianism in the country.
Ultimately, and although the fact-finding committee was formed to satisfy the demands of civil society, the public, and the human rights community for the truth, the committee largely failed to earn the favor of any. In response to the release of the report summary, at least five prominent civil society organizations issued a joint statement criticizing the committee for not releasing its full report, not investigating independently, and not contributing to genuine truth seeking.
The report summary can be found here.