On November 23, , the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) issued a page report summarizing its findings regarding the February-March . Head of Most Famous Report in Bahrain’s History Meets his End, Leaves Mark on Memories BICI Report Spoke of Qatar Mediation to Resolve Bahraini Crisis. In , the US State Department released a report analyzing the Bahraini government’s implementation of the BICI recommendations.

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The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry BICIalso known locally in Bahrain as the Bassiouni Commissionwas established by the King of Bahrain on 29 June [1] tasked with looking into the incidents that occurred during the period of unrest in Bahrain in February and March and the consequences of these events.

The commission released a page report bicii Novemberwhich took 9, testimonies, offered an extensive chronology of events, documented 46 deaths, allegations of torture, and more than 4, cases of employees dismissed biic participating in protests. The report criticized the security forces for many instances when “force and firearms were used in an excessive manner that was, on many occasions, unnecessary, disproportionate, and indiscriminate;” and found that certain abuses, such as destruction of property, “could not have happened without the knowledge of higher echelons of the command structure.

The report confirmed the Bahraini government’s use of systematic torture and other forms of physical and psychological abuse on detainees, as well as other human rights violations.

The BICI is described by human rights group Amnesty International as “an impressive line-up of independent international experts”. Cherif Bassiouni who has led United Nations investigations into alleged war crimes in Bosnia and Libya.

The four other members are Sir Nigel S. On 7 September the BICI invited Dr Sondra Crosbyan expert on hunger strikes, to join its team in order to monitor those prisoners on hunger strike in the Kingdom. Her appointment was instigated on “humanitarian grounds due to the deep concern of the BICI with the plight of the prisoners and detainees who are on hunger strike”. According to Article 4 of Royal Decree 28, the Commission’s mandate is to “engage in fact finding”.

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It will determine its work on its own and without any interference by the government, which is prohibited from interfering in the Commission’s work. According to Article 9 of Royal Decree 28, the Commission’s final report should include the following:.

The Commission is allowed to make any recommendations is deems appropriate in its final report including: US President Barack Obama praised the establishment of the Commission on 2 July and said that, “by providing an independent assessment of what happened and identifying those responsible, the Royal Commission will play an essential role in advancing reconciliation, justice, and peace in Bahrain.

It is our hope that this promising and significant step will lead to concrete progress in addressing the recent serious concerns about the human rights situation in Bahrain, reiterated by the Foreign Secretary yesterday. We also hope these developments will be complemented by all sides participating in a successful and peaceful commencement of the National Dialogue.


The Arab League General Secretariat hailed the establishment of the Commission as a step that will “meet Bahrain people’s aspirations and bolster constitutional establishments beyond any foreign interference to subvert the Kingdom’s independence, sovereignty and stability and undermine its Arab identity.

EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said on 1 July that the “establishment of an independent commission, composed of international members, to investigate the origins, causes and facts behind the many allegations of human rights violations in recent months in Bahrain. This is a step in the right direction, which we hope will shed full light on those events.

I expect the independent commission to be in a position to carry out its work freely and thoroughly and I look forward to its final report due to be released at the end of October Amnesty International labelled the Commission as “a significant step forward but must lead to justice for the victims”.

Malcolm Smart, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa programme, said, “moreover, the terms of the King’s decree make clear that they will have the authority to carry out a full investigation” and added that “appointment of this international commission appears to represent nothing less than a sea change in Bahrain”. The BICI report gave a series of recommendations to the government of steps that it believed would improve accountability and bring government practice in line with international standards.

The government gave itself a target of implementing these recommendations by the end of February As far as the general recommendations are concerned, the government claims that it has implemented the following recommendations:. In an open letter to M. Cherif Bassiouni dated 9 August, [22] Nabeel Rajabpresident of the Bahraini non-profit organisation Bahrain Centre for Human Rightsexpressed “deep disappointment and regret” at comments made by Bassiouni in an interview with Reuters on 8 August Rajab alleges that Bassiouni is “willing to espouse the view of the political establishment whilst paying lip-service to the concept of a fair and independent enquiry.

Bassiouni continues by criticising the conclusions that Rajab drew from his Reuters interview, saying they are “premature”, and admits to finding it “disheartening that you Rajab deemed it necessary to personally attack me”.

In a further statement published on the BICI website on 15 August [25] the BICI reiterated that it had not come to any conclusions in its investigations and, as a result of “misleading headlines” and the misrepresentation of Bassiouni’s comments “by certain media outlets and activists”, will no longer be giving interviews to the media.

The statement ends by saying that the BICI “will not allow itself to be used as a political tool for any group”. The head of the Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society Faisal Fuladwho was implicated in the Bandargate scandal[26] believe that the continued attempts to discredit the BICI are part of a concerted campaign by the opposition to delegitimise the Commission’s findings. Participating in HARDtalkRajab said the commission was not independent and that the king has failed to deliver its recommendations which he accepted.


On 15 August a group of protestors stormed the BICI offices, having been angered by the inaccurate reporting of the supposed ‘conclusions’ reached by Bassiouni. According to a statement released by the BICI on 15 August, individuals “yelled insults, posted threatening messages on the office walls, sent threats via text and email, and even physically shoved and spat at a member of staff”.

Individuals also continued to photograph and video record people in the office, despite advice from staff that such actions undermine the confidentiality and safety of the many witnesses and victims coming forward. The report was released 23 November The delay was requested by Bassiouni in an audience with the king on 18 October.

He said that the BICI needed more time to investigate the large numbers of reports that had been submitted. While expressing its appreciation for the cooperation of government agencies, Bassiouni also noted that the BICI still needed some information from certain government ministries. Bassiouni also stated that all physical documents, including statements and bahrxin from Bahrainis and foreigners, would be destroyed when the report is submitted.

An electronic copy of the documents will be kept at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague for ten years. The following are the conclusions and observations of the report: The report was welcomed by many international governments. UK Foreign Secretary William Hague welcomed the report and urged “all opposition groups to act on the report’s recommendations, demonstrating their commitment to reconciliation and contributing to the process of renewal”.

Catherine AshtonHigh Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, put pressure “upon all sides in Bahrain to do their utmost to implement the recommendations of the report, in a timely and bshrain fashion” [35]. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called “on the government to ensure the implementation of its recommendations as a meaningful step in addressing serious allegations of human rights violations”.

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