Bahrain unrest probe panel to submit final report
Manama, November 20, 2011
Preparations are in full swing for a grand ceremony this week for the release of the final report by an independent commission tasked to probe unrest this year.
The much-awaited report by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) will be released on Wednesday.
A media spokeswoman for the commission told our sister newspaper, the Gulf Daily News that arrangements were underway for the release of the report.
'The Royal Court is arranging a grand ceremony where the commission members will be present to submit the report to His Majesty King Hamad,' she said.
The report will be submitted by BICI head Professor Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni in the presence of four other senior members of the commission.
They are former International Criminal Court president Judge Phillipe Kirsch, former UN special rapporteur on human rights Sir Nigel Rodley, international legal expert Dr Mahnoush Arsanjani and Sharia (Islamic law) specialist Dr Badria Al Awadhi.
Last month, Professor Bassiouni during a meeting with His Majesty said they would postpone their final report from October 31 to November 23.
This was because of the increasing number of complaints and BICI was still 'awaiting responses' from various ministries and government agencies to enquiries regarding the role of each of these institutions since February.
Human rights violators are expected to be named in the document that has been compiled after extensive work carried out by investigators.
The report has documented more than 90 cases of attacks against Asians that left at least four dead during the peak of the unrest.
The US-based Foreign Policy Association said that the report highlighted protests in February and March that resulted in 28 deaths, including four Asians.
It said that out of the 92 cases of violence against South Asians documented by the commission, 58 were against Pakistanis, 18 against Bangladeshis, 11 against Indians and one against a Filipina.
The venue of the report launch ceremony is yet to be announced by authorities, but human rights groups, diplomats and international non-governmental organisations are expected to be present.
Amnesty International (AI) announced that its Bahrain researcher Said Boumedouha would attend the ceremony after receiving an invitation from the government.
'The authorities have stressed the importance of the five-member international team's work and have said that they would implement the recommendations of the commission's report,' AI said in a statement.
Local human rights group and non-governmental organisations have also received invitations to attend the ceremony.
'We know that international human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are invited to attend the ceremony,' said Bahrain Human Rights Watch Society secretary-general Faisal Fulad.
BICI said last month that all physical documents would be destroyed, but a digital file would be held by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands, for 10 years - before that too is destroyed.
The commission had received around 9,000 written complaints from both citizens and residents who claimed to be victims of human rights violations.
More than 5,000 interviews with individual complainants have also been conducted, during which allegations of human rights violations were investigated.
The independent inquiry, formed on June 29 on the orders of His Majesty, will present recommendations once its work has concluded that could include prosecution of some individuals suspected of wrongdoing. – TradeArabia News Service