Morsi enacted a state of emergency last weekend giving the military broad judicial authorities. Frustration with his administration reached a breaking point last week as Egyptians marked the second anniversary of the uprising that forced former President Hosni Mubarak from power.
Joe Stork, deputy director of Middle East programs at Human Rights Watch, said that Morsi's decision was a "knee-jerk response" to protests that turned deadly last week. He expressed frustration from New York that there were no corresponding restraints on the use of force.
"Unless the law is amended to specifically limit the jurisdiction of the military justice system to purely military offenses, civilians may still be taken to military courts whenever the military feels like it," he added in his statement.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed frustration with the level of violence in Egypt two years after the revolution. The country, less than a year after its first democratic presidential election, is in an "extremely fragile and unstable" state, she said.