CAIRO: Former Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei refused to testify before the June 30 fact-finding committee because “he does not have information that would be productive for the committee,” head of the committee Fouad Riad told Al-Masry Al-Youm Tuesday.
Riad said that ElBaradei also cited that the “timing is not suitable.” The Nobel Peace Prize laureate served as a vice president for one month before he resigned on the day hundreds of Islamist protesters were killed in the dispersal of pro-Morsi sit-ins at Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda Squares, Aug. 14, 2013, despite his calls for national reconciliation.
The state-funded National Council for Human Rights formed the committee in December 2013 to investigate events leading up to the June 30 mass protests against former President Mohamed Morsi and the spread of violence after his ouster, especially the dispersal of the sit-ins.
The committee requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to call on Egyptian embassies to seek testimonies of Muslim Brotherhood members abroad. It had attempted to arrange meetings abroad with Brotherhood witnesses, but they reportedly rejected cooperation.
A large number of Brotherhood members left Egypt after Morsi’s ouster amid the strongest state crackdown on the group since its founding in 1928.
Top jailed Brotherhood leaders in Egypt also have refused to meet with the committee and give their testimonies over the sit-in dispersals, Al-Ahram reported Riad as saying Aug. 26.
Brotherhood leaders have, however, accepted offers to speak with foreign human rights organizations. Omar Marwan, a spokesperson for the committee, said in May it requested a meeting with the lawyers of jailed MB leaders, but the lawyers also refused.
Civil society organizations offered cooperation with the committee, but also criticized a lack of laws on witness protection and the circulation of any information gathered
Human Rights Watch released a report on the Aug. 14, 2013 dispersals in August 2014, and described them as “crimes against humanity,” saying at least 1,000 people were killed. Top HRW officials were denied entry to Egypt in the days before the release of the report.
An August Amnesty International report called the Rabaa dispersal a “massacre,” saying that “Egypt’s criminal justice system has been swift to arrest, try and sentence alleged former President Mohamed Morsi supporters after grossly unfair mass trials.”
Egyptian authorities strongly condemned the reports, and accused the authors of ignoring the targeting of police and military forces and “terrorism that attacks the country.”
The initial deadline of the committee to release its report was set for May 2014, but the committee requested the extension of the deadline twice to collect more testimonies from government and independent witnesses and parties.