Egypt: Justice and Accountability Vital to Successful Transition


NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2011—As Egyptians redesign their constitution and political system, they should also consider meaningful ways to address legacies of human rights violations, the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ) said today.

"Egyptian officials should seize the opportunity to start a national debate on establishing truth and ensuring justice for past violations," said David Tolbert, ICTJ’s President. "Demonstrators have vocally denounced torture and called for accountability of human rights abusers in recent weeks. Justice and accountability strategies are the only way for Egypt to break with its past and ensure a successful transition based on the rule of law."

Egyptians should look at how other post-authoritarian transitions have been handled in recent decades. They must then consider taking steps to ensure that the perpetrators for grave human rights violations—such as torture—are held accountable, and initiatives are taken to ensure justice for victims. It will also be vital for Egypt to reform abusive institutions, and so prevent violations from recurring.

“Egypt’s process will be lengthy and full of challenges,” Tolbert said. “There are valuable lessons to be learned from other transitions, including the fact that justice issues are often corrosive if they’re not addressed. Another clear lesson is the need to consult and build legitimacy. As this new era begins in Egypt, those in power should make sure the transition is built on an an inclusive and participatory process.”

About ICTJ

The International Center for Transitional Justice works to redress and prevent the most severe violations of human rights by confronting legacies of mass abuse. ICTJ seeks holistic solutions to promote accountability and create just and peaceful societies. For more information, visit

Contacts (New York GMT -5)

Stephen Boykewich (English) ICTJ Media Consultant

  • 1 917 686 2426

Habib Nassar (Arabic, French, English) Acting Director, ICTJ Middle East and North Africa Program Tel + 1 917 637 3839 Cell +1 646 280 8670