Bahrain unit to probe unrest

An international fact-finding commission, Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) in November recommended the establishment of a national, independent and impartial mechanism to determine the accountability of those who have committed unlawful or negligent acts resulting in deaths, torture and mistreatment of civilians.

The BICI objective was to bring legal action against those who are found responsible under international standards.
“The new investigatory unit once again shows that we are fully committed to the implementation of all the BICI recommendations,” Ali Al Buainain, the Attorney-General, said. “We have taken the advice of international legal experts to ensure that this new body meets the highest international standards and satisfies the words and spirit of BICI,” he said.

Several recommendations were included in a searing report published by the BICI at the end of a four-month inquiry into the events that hit Bahrain in February and March last year.
King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa, who called for the formation of the BICI, and the government have accepted the findings and pledged publicly to implement them.
Advice was sought from leading international experts Sir Daniel Bethlehem QC, Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC, Professor Adnan Amkhan, Professor Sarah Cleveland and David Perry QC, Bahraini officials said, adding that the advice on setting up the unit was accepted in full and that it would be made public.

The new unit will be led by a senior public prosecutor and will be supported by experienced, independent criminal investigators and forensic experts.
A new position was created for a senior independent investigations counsellor, to be appointed by the Supreme Judicial Council.
Officials said that the recruitment of personnel was already under way and insisted that this position required experience in prosecuting and investigating crimes and familiarity with international standards of human rights investigations.
The Government, in a bid to ensure the effectiveness of these investigations, will launch an extensive programme of training for prosecutors in a number of areas, including the Istanbul Principles on investigating torture claim.
Seniors lawyers and judges will arrive within weeks from Germany and the US to provide training on effective investigations, case management and human rights issues.

By Habib Toumi - Bureau Chief
Gulf News

Manama Bahrain has completed the formation of a special investigatory unit within the public prosecution department dedicated to determining accountability for last year’s events, the country’s attorney-general said yesterday.