Recommendations to the Presidency, the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Transitional Justice and National Reconciliation concerning the integration of gender issues and perspective within transitional justice mechanisms.
(Adobe Acrobat Document)
In June of 2013, masses of Egyptian people once again took to the streets to demand the ouster of the President, this time the Muslim Brotherhood's Muhammed Morsi. Having taken control of the presidency, the armed forces appointed Judge Muhammad Amin al-Mahdi as Minister of Transitional Justice and National Reconciliation as part of a ten-step reconciliation roadmap. The creation of this ministry (MoTJNR) is welcomed by the authors of this paper, produced by Nazra for Feminist Studies, which presents recommendations concerning the mechanisms that could be developed and implemented by the MoTJNR.
The paper begins by describing transitional justice mechanisms as an effective process for the achievement of justice for human rights violations, and for ensuring such situations do not reoccur. Also noted is the complexity of gender-based violations, and the necessity for officials in charge of establishing transitional justice mechanisms to understand the nature of violations committed against women. To ensure that justice, truth, and accountability are achieved, it is important that violations during the rule of Hosni Mubarak, the rule of the armed forces (February 2011 - June 201), and the rule of Morsi all be considered in a gender-sensitive fashion. To aid this process, recommendations are presented covering five main areas:
1. The establishment of a truth commission (TC) is necessary to investigate the circumstances of violations, with a mandate to make recommendations of lawsuit initiations, reforms and restructuring plans, and payment of reparations. This includes consultation with human rights and feminist organisations, and training for TC staff on gender-based issues.
2. Fact-finding committees should be employed to investigate pre-identified events with specific mandates, such as the use of mass sexual assaults to intimidate protesters used in November 2012 and June 2013.
3. Trials and investigations for grave human rights violations, and those committed against women in particular, must be held, while amnesty should be considered for non-grave violations to aid transition. The definition of terms such as ‘torture’ and ‘rape’ must also be reassessed to adhere to more internationally recognised standards and provide greater protection for women.
4. Reparations should be made, be it material, symbolic, or both. This is required to confirm rights and restore trust and legitimacy to the new state. Ideas include the naming of public places after women who participated in the revolution.
5. Procedures to ensure the non-recurrence of violations in the future should include extensive reform of the police service, with training for officials on international human rights standards.