10 December 2006
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Subject:13th Anniversary of the Enforced Disappearance of Mr. Mansour R. Kikhia
Mr. Santiago Corcuera Cabezut, Chairman
United Nations Working Group on Enforced
Or involuntary Disappearances
Palais des Nations – 1211 Geneva 10
Dear Mr. Corcuera,
We are once again writing to you on the subject of Mr. Mansour Kikhia’s disappearance in Cairo, Egypt, on 10 December 1993. A background paper on the abduction entitled “Who abducted Mr. Kikhia?”, as well as a paper on the course of the legal proceedings brought against the State of Egypt for failing to accord protection to Mr. Kikhia, are attached hereto for easy reference. It is hoped that, by providing you with new insights into Mr. Kikhia’s abduction, these two documents may encourage you to take up his case with the Egyptian Government, which continues to bear the primary legal and moral responsibility for his safe return to his family and friends. According to unconfirmed reports received during the past few months, Mr. Kikhia is still alive but in a lamentable state of health. He is possibly detained at Siwa oasis, near the border with Libya.
It is widely believed in Egypt and elsewhere that the Egyptian Government’s actions are characterized by reprehensible double standards insofar as it is attempting to portray itself to the world as a State that respects human rights while secretly condoning, as in the case of Mr. Kikhia, one of the most abominable violations of human rights, namely abduction and enforced disappearance. Since 1995, its (annual) response to the inquiries of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and other concerned institutions has been consistent and predictable: “The Government is continuing to exert efforts to determine the fate of Mr. Kikhia and will inform the Working Group of any new development”. The total lack of any new development during the last 13 years has been designated by Mr. Kikhia‘s defence counsel, the late Adel Amin, as “a clear indication that the Egyptian security authorities do not want the truth to be revealed concerning the disappearance of Mansour Kikhia”. He added that “the abduction of such an important figure as Mr. Kikhia, a former Minister for Foreign Affairs and a former Representative to the United Nations in New York, could not have been perpetrated without the prior approval or, at least, implicit acquiescence of the highest political authorities in Egypt”. This might explain the Egyptian Government’s consistent refusal to cooperate by allowing an independent investigation or even to reveal the outcome of its own investigation if, indeed, such an investigation has ever been conducted.
The LLHR believes that the Egyptian approach to Mr. Kikhia’s abduction is designed to secure impunity as the case fades from memory or through the eventual demise of its perpetrator(s), especially those in high governmental positions. It is obvious that this approach runs counter to the letter and spirit of the very concept of the humanitarian laws governing crimes of enforced disappearance, in which IMPUNITY has always been considered not only as an incentive to the commission of such crimes but also as a major obstacle impeding their elucidation (Mr. Kikhia’s abduction is a case in point). Hence, there is an imperative need for more intensive efforts to eliminate impunity. Accordingly, we take this opportunity to urge you and, through you, the UN Human Rights Council to take effective measures to combat impunity, especially in those countries such as Egypt which are renowned for their reluctance to cooperate with the Working Group to elucidate cases of enforced disappearance. In the meantime, we are confident that you will share our dismay and that of the international community concerning the difficulties encountered by the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances in the fulfilment of its mandate in regard to the enforced disappearance of Mr. Mansour Kikhia in Cairo on 10 December 1993 at a time when the world was celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Soliman Bouchuiguir, Ph.D.