17 January 2012 IAA
H.E. Ali bin Saleh Al Saleh, Chairman of the National Commission for implementing the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) held a press conference Sunday (15 January) to provide an update about the work of the commission, which held its first meeting a little over month ago. The Chairman stressed that the National Commission views its work as a guarantee against the reoccurrence of the kinds of events that took place in the Kingdom last year.
To begin with, Al Saleh reiterated the function of the Commission, which is to the review the BICI recommendations and develop relevant proposals to prepare for necessary amendments of laws and procedures.
He reaffirmed the Commission’s diligence to work to international standards with transparency, and confirmed that government has already fully implemented many of the recommendations.
The National Commission is a completely independent and decisions are made with the consensus of its 19 members. Its work is divided into subcommittees that address Legal issues, Legislative issues and a team focused on National Reconciliation.
With the lapse of half of the designated time period, the National Commission’s work is more than 50% complete, according to Al Saleh. Out of 26 recommendations, 7 have been fully implemented; 18 are in progress and have been partially implemented; and 1 is not yet applicable
The following is a breakdown of the status of the 26 BICI recommendations.
1715 - To establish an independent and impartial national commission consisting of personalities of high standing representing both the GoB, opposition political parties and civil society to follow up and implement the recommendations of this Commission.
1719 - To adopt legislative measures requiring the Attorney-General to investigate claims of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, with independent forensic experts.
1720 - To review all convictions and sentences rendered by the National Security Courts in the ordinary courts where prompt and full access to legal counsel and inadmissibility of coerced testimony.
1722h - To review convictions and commute sentences (or drop charges) of all persons charged with offences involving political expression, not consisting of advocacy of violence.
1722j - To compensate and provide remedies for the families of the deceased victims in a manner that is commensurate with the gravity of their loss.
1722k - To compensate and provide remedies for all victims of torture, ill-treatment or prolonged incommunicado detention.
1723a - To ensure that the remaining dismissed employees have not been dismissed because of the exercise of their right to freedom of expression, opinion, association or assembly
Recommendations currently in progress of being implemented:
1716 - To establish a national independent and impartial mechanism to determine the accountability of those in government who have committed unlawful or negligent acts resulting in the deaths, torture and mistreatment of civilians with a view to bringing legal and disciplinary action against such individuals.
1717 - To place the office of the Inspector General in MOI as a separate entity independent of the Ministry’s hierarchical control, whose tasks should include those of an internal “ombudsman’s office”.
1718 - To insure that the NSA is an intelligence gathering agency without law enforcement and arrest authority; with an independent office of inspector general to carry out the same internal “ombudsman” functions.
1722a - To conduct effective investigations in accordance with the Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions of all the deaths that have been attributed to the security forces.
1722b - To establish a standing independent body to examine all complaints of torture or ill-treatment, excessive use of force or other abuses at the hands of the authorities.
1722c - To implement an extensive program of public order training for the public security forces, the NSA and the BDF, in accordance with UN best practices.
1722d - To avoid detention without prompt access to lawyers, as well as holding detainees incommunicado. Detention should be subject to effective monitoring by an independent body and guarantee the right to due process and the rights of detainees.
1722e - To establish urgently, and implement vigorously, a program for the integration into the security forces of personnel from all the communities in Bahrain.
1722f - To train the judiciary and prosecutorial personnel on the need to ensure that their activities contribute to the prevention and eradication of torture and ill-treatment.
1722g - There should be audiovisual recording of all official interviews with detained persons.
1723b - To use all its powers to ensure that public and private employers who dismissed employees for failure to appear for work at the time of the demonstrations treat them in a way that is at least equal to that provided by the GoB to civil servants.
1723c - To reinstate all students who have not been criminally charged with an act of violence and to put in place a procedure whereby students who were expelled on legitimate grounds may apply for reinstatement after a reasonable period of time; and to adopt fair standards for disciplinary measures against students applied in an impartial manner.
1723d - To rebuild at GoB expense, some of the demolished religious structures in accordance with administrative regulations.
1724a - To consider relaxing censorship and allowing the opposition greater access to television broadcasts, radio broadcasts and print media.
1724b - To establish professional standards for the media and other forms of publications that contain an ethical code and an enforcement mechanism, designed to uphold ethical and professional standards in order to avoid incitement to hatred, violence and intolerance, without prejudice to internationally protected rights of freedom of expression.
1724c - To undertake appropriate measures to prevent incitement to violence, hatred, sectarianism and other forms of incitement which lead to the violation of internationally protected human rights, irrespective of whether the source is public or private.
1725a - To develop educational programs at the primary, secondary, high school and university levels to promote religious, political and other forms of tolerance, as well as to promote human rights and the rule of law.
1725b - To develop a national reconciliation program that addresses the grievances of groups which are, or perceive themselves, to be deprived of equal political, social and economic rights and benefits .