A new report has alleged that the Egyptian security forces' killings of at least 1,000 protesters at the Rabaa al-Adawiya Square sit-in last year in Cairo "most likely amount to crimes against humanity".
The 195-page Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released on Tuesday found that Egyptian security forces "gunned down hundreds of unarmed protesters" when they moved in to disperse the sit-in on August 14.
The killings were "part of a policy to use lethal force against largely unarmed protesters on political grounds," HRW found, and resulted in "one of the world's largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history".
HRW said that over a dozen senior Egyptian leaders should be investigated for their parts in the protesters' deaths, including Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim and current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who was defence minister at the time.
"This wasn’t merely a case of excessive force or poor training. It was a violent crackdown planned at the highest levels of the Egyptian government. Many of the same officials are still in power in Egypt, and have a lot to answer for," said Kenneth Roth, HRW’s executive director, in a statement.