Professor Cherif Bassiouni, the independent judge who headed the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, arrived in Bahrain on 9 May and gave his assessment of levels of implementation of the 2011 BICI recommendations.
Bassiouni stated that Bahrain had emerged from a traumatic period, and that the Government dealt with these events through a holistic process of reforms and decisive actions which allowed Bahrain to overcome the 2011 disturbances.
Accountability and investigation of complaints
The BICI Chairman praised 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 which he said were important steps for achieving accountability and transparency.
Bassiouni said that he was subsequently shown numerous security reports which had not been available in 2011 when the BICI was preparing its report. These strongly indicated interference by regional foreign parties.
Reinstatement of workers and students
Bassiouni confirmed that the Government had fully addressed the call by the Commission to reinstate the students in their colleges and the employees in their professional positions.
Right to fair trial
The trials conducted before the National Safety Courts during 2011 were reviewed in ordinary courts and abusers were punished. Laws regarding criminal procedures and punishment were amended, police officers, judges, public prosecution members and lawyers were trained. The status of places of worship was regularized.
Bassiouni asserted that victims of the unrest received financial compensation without forgoing their right to resort to civil courts.
The BICI Chairman said that the Government had adopted additional measures; including the establishment of the Prisoners and Detainees Rights Commission so as to provide protection for prisoners and guarantee there were no abuses.
Reconciliation, national unity and security capabilities
Professor Bassiouni said that the Government developed a range of programmes and initiatives to enhance national cohesion between all components of Bahraini society and to improve the capabilities of the security services.
In general, Bassiouni asserted said that Bahrain had made a lot of progress in implementing reforms, which inclined him towards agreeing that the objectives of the BICI recommendations had been achieved. All the measures taken by Bahrain indicate that serious efforts had been exerted to overcome the events of 2011, he added.
Bassiouni called for a continuation of the reforms project launched by HM the King which he described as the main guarantee of stability, prosperity and progress for Bahrain.