Human Rights Watch (HRW) on May 28 detailed abuses against civilians by both the Egyptian government and militants in the Sinai Peninsula, some of which HRW classified as war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. The information in the report was collected over a two-year investigation into the conditions facing civilians in Sinai. The abuses detailed in the report include mass arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture, extrajudicial killings, and unlawful air and ground attacks against civilians. These actions are part of the government’s fight against the ISIS-affiliated militants in Sinai. HRW claims that both groups are guilty of committing atrocities against civilians, but the Egyptian government is responsible for the majority of the abuses.
Further, the report finds that “the fight in North Sinai most likely amounts to a non-international armed conflict (NIAC) in which the laws of war apply.” Under these laws, both sides of the conflict have been found to “violate international laws of war, as well as local and international human rights laws.”
HRW “calls on the Egyptian authorities to protect civilians and uphold its obligations under the international laws of war and local and international human rights laws.”
The report concludes with recommendations at both the national and international level, calling on the Egyptian government, as well as the Israeli and US governments, which are also involved in the conflict, to take steps tp prevent abuses against civilians.
From Jurist, May 28. Used with permission.
Photo: Egypt Daily News