The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) spent over 5 months of thorough investigation (June – November 2011) the commission submitted the report on the 23rd November 2011.
During the investigation period the BICI investigators have lead numerous field visits and interviews to accumulate information from a variety of sources. These included visits to 6 police stations and detention facilities, and visits to 6 hospitals. The BICI investigators have led over 250 personal interviews with citizens during these field visits. In addition, staff members have made over 5000 personal interviews at the BICI Headquarters in Manama to record their testimony about the events of February/March 2011. Moreover, the BICI has received over 9000 communications and complaints via email, regular mail, and recorded videos pertaining to the time period under investigation. Additionally, staff members have also met with families of persons present during the confrontations and demonstrations that occurred in Bahrain to record their testimonies.
Though the Commissions of Inquiry are often created by external mandate, the Bahraini Commission of Inquiry was established through internal decision-making and has received a consultation process with various bodies, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The terms of reference set out in the Royal Order contain a number of structures that have contributed to the Commission’s integrity and independence, such as:
- The Commission is wholly independent from the Bahraini government and will be responsible for hiring its own staff and administering its own budget
- The Commission has been afforded full access to government agencies, officials and files;
- The Commission has been granted the government’s cooperation in giving the Commission access to all places and people that the Commission deems appropriate;
- The Commission has the ability to meet with witnesses in secret and to adopt protective measures for witnesses;
- The Commission has the authority to decide on all matters concerning the scope of its work and its methods of operation;
- The Government has undertaken to ensure that no person will be punished, penalized, harassed or embarrassed in any way;
- The Commission has been granted the ability to make any recommendations that it sees fit;
- The Commission’s final report will be made public in its entirety;