Egypt: Court Rules "Virginity Tests" Violation of Human Rights
Monday, January 09, 2012 10:20 AM

An administrative court in Egypt ruled that the so-called "virginity tests" conducted by the military violated the human rights of women detainees. The decision addressed a military response to a demonstration on March 9, 2001, and was one of the first military actions taken after it took control over the Egyptian federal government. This marks the first attempt by the judicial branch to rule on a military activity which occurred during its rule.

The court addressed a report submitted by Amnesty International on June 27, 2011 which contained a confirmation by a general on the ruling military council that women who were held by the military were examined against their will. These examinations have often been denied by the ruling military council, and this report is  one of the few documented sources of a council member confirming their use. In this instance, the council member argued that the "virginity tests" were necessary to "safeguard soldiers from being accused of raping women detainees." This justification was found lacking by the court.  The court held that the examinations "involve deliberate humiliation and intentional insult to women participating in protests" and were, in fact, "criminal offense[s]."

Compiled from: Kirkpatrick, David, Court in Egypt Says Rights of Women Were Violated, New York Times (27 December 2011).