25 December 2011 IAA
The National Commission (NC) charged with implementing the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) reviewed the measures to investigate claims of torture and cruel inhuman treatment, as stipulated in recommendation (1719) of the BICI report. The recommendation stipulates the adoption of legislative measures to ensure the safety of those who bring such charges, and provides a means of compensation to any person claiming to be a victim of retaliation for submitting such a claim. The NC’s fourth meeting was held on Saturday, 24 December.
HE Mr. Ali Bin Saleh Al-Saleh (the NC’s President) stated the commission is addressing the government to prepare a draft law that will provide for the Attorney General to investigate claims of torture and other forms of cruel and inhuman treatment or punishment, as well as unprofessional disciplinary action. The draft law should allow authorities to consider and seek the assistance of independent experts in the field of forensic medicine, under the full supervision of the office of the Attorney General.
The commission is also seeking to authorize competent authorities to provide a legal explanation of the term “incitement of hatred and sectarianism” in compliance with international standards. This is in reference to BICI recommendation No. 1724-C, that addresses taking the appropriate measures (including legislation) to prevent incitement to violence, hatred and sectarianism which lead to the violation of internationally protected human rights.
Furthermore, the NC is requesting a legal interpretation of the term “independent and impartial body” implied in recommendation No. 1722-A, which provides effective investigations of all deaths attributed to security forces in accordance the Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions. This would also apply to all allegations of torture and abusive treatment to be investigated by an independent and impartial body, following the Istanbul Principles. The investigation of both types of alleged violation should be capable of ensuring that punishment would be consistent with the gravity of the offence.
Al-Saleh stated that the National Commission is working with the government on what measures it is taking to implement recommendation No. 1722 (E, F, G, H, I, J, K) as follows:
- The NC recommends that the Government of Bahrain (GoB) establish immediately and expeditiously implement a program to integrate into the security forces members from all Bahraini communities. (1722‐E)
- The NC recommends that the GoB train the judiciary and prosecutorial personnel to ensure that their activities contribute to the prevention and eradication of torture and ill-treatment. (1722-F)
- The NC reiterates that the GoB should immediately insure that audiovisual recording of all official interviews with detained persons takes place. (1722-G)
- The NC refers to the GoB to review convictions and commute sentences of all persons charged with offences involving political expression (including dropping outstanding charges against them), excluding those consisting of advocacy of violence. (1722-H)
- The NC refers to the GoB in considering commuting the death sentence imposed for murder arising out of the events of February/March 2011, in the light of the preference of Article 6 of the ICCPR for the abolition of the death penalty and the concerns regarding the fairness of trials conducted by the National Safety Court. (1722‐I)
- With regard to compensating and providing relief for the families of the deceased victims in a manner that is commensurate with the gravity of their loss, as well as all victims of torture and ill‐treatment (including those who were held incommunicado while in detention), the NC welcomes the Royal Decree Law No. 30 establishing the National Fund for the Reparation of Victims on 22 September 2011. (1722-J, 1722-K)
HE Mr. Al--‐Saleh emphasized that the National Commission is aiming to achieve national reconciliation based on solutions that satisfy all parties and committing their efforts to resolve all issues on the basis that dialogue and reform must prevail.