King of Bahrain Approves Amendment to Take Terrorists to Military Trial

Manama – Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa approved on Tuesday amendments to some of the military law provisions after the amendments were passed by the Shura Council and the Council of Representatives.

The king’s approval grants the military judicial system the authority to investigate terrorist cases that target Bahrain.

A week ago, Bahrain’s parliament approved a constitutional change allowing military courts to try civilians. The bill revises a portion of Bahrain’s constitution by removing limitations on who military courts can try.

On Tuesday, King Hamad issued a royal decree approving the amendment to the military judicial system. “The amendment added two clauses (17 ditto) that stipulated the crimes committed by, or in cohort with, terrorist(s) that come under the jurisdiction of military courts whenever committed against Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) or National Guard personnel, paraphernalia, aircraft, ships, vehicles, buildings, weapons, installations, camps, maneuvers, mobilizations, facilities, secrets, documents, records or official motorcades under military protection, routes, military operation zones, terrorist or state security crimes anywhere inside the Kingdom of Bahrain or abroad.”

The Prime Minister, the BDF Commander-in-Chief and the President of the National Guard have been tasked, each according to his respective domain, to implement this law which becomes effective as from the day following the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.

Bahraini MPs considered the amendment necessary in face of the dangers posed by terrorist operations on Bahrain’s stability and security.

They stated that terrorism targets security forces or more generally the military forces, while being supported and backed by foreign parties. The MPs said that the council was prompted to include terrorist operations under the umbrella of the military judicial system to judge such cases, while ensuring the rights of defendants guaranteed by civil courts.