“L’État, c’est moi”—Mohamed Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood launch coup d’état in Egypt

“L’Etat, c’est moi.”
“I am the state.”
–quote attributed to King Louis IV

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has executed a legal coup d’état through a decree by President Mohamed Morsi arrogating all legal power to himself, thereby abrogating the rule of law in Egypt.

The text of Morsi’s Constitutional Decree (informal translation)

The following text and English translation of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s constitutional declaration is from Ahram Online.

In a surprise move Thursday, President Mohamed Morsi issued a new Constitutional Declaration.

The declaration began by stating that the January 25 Revolution had mandated the president with the responsibility to achieve revolutionary demands and to root out remnants of the old regime from Egypt’s state institutions. It also called for the building of a “new legitimacy built on a constitution” to promote “principles of freedom, justice and democracy.”

Ahram Online provides a translated version of Thursday’s Constitutional Declaration.

We have decided the following:

Article I

Reopen the investigations and prosecutions in the cases of the murder, the attempted murder and the wounding of protesters as well as the crimes of terror committed against the revolutionaries by anyone who held a political or executive position under the former regime, according to the Law of the Protection of the Revolution and other laws.

Article II:

Previous constitutional declarations, laws, and decrees made by the president since he took office on 30 June 2012, until the constitution is approved and a new People’s Assembly [lower house of parliament] is elected, are final and binding and cannot be appealed by any way or to any entity. Nor shall they be suspended or canceled and all lawsuits related to them and brought before any judicial body against these decisions are annulled.

Article III:

The prosecutor-general is to be appointed from among the members of the judiciary by the President of the Republic for a period of four years commencing from the date of office and is subject to the general conditions of being appointed as a judge and should not be under the age of 40. This provision applies to the one currently holding the position with immediate effect.

Article IV:

The text of the article on the formation of the Constituent Assembly in the 30 March 2011 Constitutional Declaration that reads, “it shall prepare a draft of a new constitution in a period of six months from the date it was formed” is to be amended to “it shall prepare the draft of a new constitution for the country no later than eight months from the date of its formation.”

Article V:

No judicial body can dissolve the Shura Council [upper house of parliament] or the Constituent Assembly.

Article VI:

The President may take the necessary actions and measures to protect the country and the goals of the revolution.

Article VII:

This Constitutional Declaration is valid from the date of its publication in the official gazette.

–Muftah Editors, “English Text of Egyptian President Morsi’s Thanksgiving Day Constitutional Decree,” November 22, 2012.

–See “English text of Morsi’s Constitutional Declaration; Ahram Online provides English version of President Morsi’s Constitutional Declaration appointing new prosecutor-general; immunising Constituent Assembly and Shura Council from dissolution, ahramonline, November 22, 2012.

The True Intentions of the Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood promised it would not present a candidate in the presidential elections. It did not honor its pledge.

The Muslim Brotherhood took down the leadership of the military, substituting its own.

The Muslim Brotherhood withdrew police protection from the American Embassy in Cairo on September 11, 2012, allowing demonstrators to enter the grounds, in violation of the U.N. Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961).

It would appear that the Muslim Brotherhood now seeks to launch its version of “Islamic democracy” by retrying individuals charged with crimes and acquitted, and by retroactively trying individuals for new crimes, in violation of fundamental human rights as embodied in the Universival Declaration on Human Rights and the U.N. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Egypt is a party.  It has also stacked the commission charged with drafting a new constitution with Islamists, and threatens to reinstate a lower house of parliament which has been dissolved by the courts because of the Brotherhood’s violations of the electoral law.

U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides, in pertinent part, the following:

Article 9
1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.

4. Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful.

Article 14
1. All persons shall be equal before the courts and tribunals. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, or of his rights and obligations in a suit at law, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law….

2. Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall have the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

3. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, everyone shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality:

(5) Everyone convicted of a crime shall have the right to his conviction and sentence being reviewed by a higher tribunal according to law.

7. No one shall be liable to be tried or punished again for an offence for which he has already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the law and penal procedure of each country.

Article 15
1 . No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time when the criminal offence was committed….

2. Nothing in this article shall prejudice the trial and punishment of any person for any act or omission which, at the time when it was committed, was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1967, in force 1976)

A Misstep, or the End of All Illusions?

There is strong evidence to suggest that the Muslim Bortherhood’s strategic goals in Egypt include establishing an Islamic dictatorship where opposing parties and power centers have been eliminated or neutralized, so that nothing stands in the way of the Brotherhood’s will. France’s King Louis XIV claimed to rule by divine right. The Muslim Brotherhood is acting as if it has such a divine right to rule Egypt.

It is possible, however, that the overreaching represented by Morsi’s decree was a clumsy and ill-considered mistake. If that is the case, the decree should be withdrawn forthwith.

If it is not withdrawn, foreign countries and foreign investors should be placed on notice that the rule of law is dead in Egypt. In such a country, the foreign investment needed to lift the population from crushing poverty is not likely to appear.

World Bank Standby Loan of $4.8 Billion

The World Bank is in the process of approving a $4.8 billion standby loan facility for Egypt.

CAIRO — Egypt reached a preliminary agreement with an International Monetary Fund team for a loan of as much as $4.8 billion that officials say is necessary to support the ailing economy and attract more funding.

The “22-month standby arrangement” for the loan, which will carry an interest rate of about 1.06 percent, will be distributed in eight quarterly amounts if it is approved by the IMF’s board, Andreas Bauer, who headed the fund’s technical team to the country, told reporters Tuesday.

Planning Minister Ashraf el-Arabi said the board will review the agreement next month.

–“World Briefs: Egypt, IMF sign loan pact,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 21, 2012.

The United States has been craven in its failure to condemn Morsi’s “constitutional decree”. Once U.S. leaders get back to the helm of the U.S. ship of state, which is currently running on auto-pilot, they should make it clear to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood that the financial suppport of the IMF, financed by their own taxpayers, was premised on the existence of a democratic state in Egypt.

If that assumption no longer holds, and it does not so long as Morsi does not rescind his decree, the United States and other members of the I.M.F. should not approve the $4.8 billion standby loan arrangement for Egypt.

The Trenchant Observer