Twelve articles of the 2014 Egyptian constitution were violated by the authorities between January and November, according to the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), an Egyptian rights group.
Most of the violations “fall under the rights and freedoms section”, according to a research paper titled “Violations of the Constitution before the Ink is Dry,” published by ANHRI on Tuesday.
The latest constitution was passed with a 98% approval rate after a referendum in January 2014.
However, according to ANHRI’s statement the constitution has been violated in a number of times in clear explicit articles. ANHRI claim that the violations are frequently enabled by laws that contradict constitutional articles.
ANHRI claim that the decree issued by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in October following the 24 October attacks by militants that left at least 30 security personnel dead, violates Article 204 of the constitution that stipulates: “No civilian shall face trial before the military court, except for crimes that constitute a direct assault against military facilities or camps of the armed forces.”
Al-Sisi’s decree stated that whoever commits crimes against “vital” state facilities or attacks military personnel on duty may be referred to military courts. The facilities mentioned in the decree include “stations, power networks and towers, gas and oil fields, rail lines, road networks, bridges”.
Several rights groups expressed concern that the decree broadens military jurisdiction over civilians.
ANHRI also claim that the lack of parliamentary elections to-date violates Article 230 of the constitution, which states presidential or parliamentary elections should take place within a period of not more than three months from the date the constitution comes into effect.
The constitution came into effect in January 2014, yet the presidential elections took place in May 2014. The parliamentary elections should have taken place within six months of the presidential vote – however, they have yet to be held. Al-Sisi recently announced that they would take place by the end of March 2015.
ANHRI also alleges that the authorities have violated Article 63 of the constitution that prohibits the arbitrary displacement of citizens. The armed forces began relocating citizens on the border between Rafah and Gaza Strip, following the 24 October militant attacks in order to create a “secure zone”.
ANHRI claims that the government also violated Article 75 on freedom of association that asserts the right of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) to practice freely. NGOs were given a 10 November deadline to register under a Mubarak-era law which gives the government the right to shut down any group at will, freeze its assets, confiscate its property, reject nominees to its governing board, block its funding, or deny requests to affiliate with international organisations.
“The violations of constitutional articles committed by both the current and former Egyptian governments, as well as by the ex –interim- president and the current president is an action that is not befitting. The constitution is a clear contract between the state and the citizen, and every official who violates an article of the constitution should be held responsible, and even held accountable because the constitution is not a mere point of view or an opinion that one can differ with, its violation is a crime not subject to a statute of limitations,” stated ANHRI.