Questions and Answers Around Latest Changes to the Code of Criminal Procedures

Press Release

10 December 2014

The latest changes to the Code of Criminal Procedures in Egypt passed into law by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in November offer incremental improvements, but no magic bullet to fix Egypt's deeply flawed criminal justice system.

The use of prolonged preventive detention and length of criminal investigations by the Egyptian government have been criticized by a number of observers including during the Universal Periodic Review of Egypt's human rights record on 5 November. On 11 November, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi enacted Law 138 of 2014 amending the Code of Criminal Procedures, setting a time limit for investigative judges carrying-out investigations into felonies or misdemeanors. Some have considered this law to be a positive development given the excessive length of time taken to complete criminal investigations and the prolonged periods of preventive detention for defendants in cases of a political nature. However, a closer look at the changes and ongoing practice cast doubts on the potential positive consequences of these changes.

This Q&A prepared by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights explain the amendments and what they actually mean in practice - clarifying that they only pertain to investigations carried out by investigative judges and have no bearing on the length of preventive detention.

To read the Qs&As click here