Manama-Chairperson of Bahrain’s Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) and U.N. Investigator Professor Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni confirmed that Bahrain was able to deal with the February 14, 2011 incidents wisely.
Professor Bassiouni said that the BICI commissioners were among the foremost international figures on human rights and humanitarian law who were highly recognized for their competence and independence.
“They were able to achieve their goals and to draw on the full and unconditional cooperation of the government and all competent authorities. Their work resulted in a report that was well received locally and internationally, which in turn is a testimony to the bold and wise decision by HM King Hamad to set up the commission,” Professor Bassiouni added.
The report released in November 2011 included several recommendations that the Government worked diligently on implementing.
Professor Bassiouni said that he has assessed the latest developments in the implementation of the BICI recommendations and noted that the government was fully committed to the call by the Commission to reinstate students in their colleges and employees in their positions.
He added that the injured and victims received financial compensation without forgoing their right to resort to competent civil courts.
Bassiouni also highlighted the establishment of the Special Investigation Unit within the Public Prosecution, the Office of the Public Prosecutor within the National Security Agency and the Ombudsman Office.
“The trials conducted before the National Safety Courts were reviewed in ordinary courts, abusers were punished, the laws regarding criminal procedures and punishment were amended, police officers, judges, public prosecution members
and lawyers were trained and the status of places of worship was regularized,” Professor Bassiouni added.
The BICI Chairman noted that the government had adopted additional measures, which included the establishment of the Prisoners and Detainees Rights Commission in order to protect them from any abuse.
All the measures taken by Bahrain indicate that serious efforts had been exerted to overcome the events of 2011, he added.
Professor Bassiouni said the government developed the necessary measures and programs to enhance national cohesion between all components of the Bahraini society and to improve the capabilities of security services.
Bahrain has emerged after a difficult period, and the government has dealt with the events through an integrated system of reforms and efficient actions that led to overcoming the 2011 events, he said.
For his part, Information Affairs Minister Ali al-Rumaihi told Asharq Al-Awsat that Bahrain has responsibly and seriously dealt with the incidents it witnessed and formed an international committee to investigate the incidents that affected the country’s security and stability. He said that the committee is formed of international experts in human rights; thus proving the kingdom’s intention to ensure protection of its citizens’ unity and its national security.
He continued: “The committee worked freely without any intervention from the government since HM King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa granted it all the investigation powers; hence, enabling Bahrain to overcome the incidents in only five years.”
He noted that Bahrain welcomed during the past period professional organizations that observe human rights, and it dealt responsibly with the incident.
Moreover, al-Rumaihi said that despite being misled by the media, Bahrain, with its King’s wisdom, was able to deal with the incidents seriously and was also able to overcome them.
The BICI was established by the King of Bahrain on 29 June 2011 tasked with looking into the incidents that occurred during the period of unrest in Bahrain in February and March 2011 and the consequences of these events.