Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa [official website] has ordered a special commission [BNA report] to look into recommendations made following an independent investigation into the alleged crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in the country, the official state media reported Saturday. The announcement follows a report [JURIST report] released last week by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) [official website] that Bahrain authorities used excessive force and tortured detainees involved in the pro-democracy demonstrations earlier this year. The BICI found that the Bahraini government was unprepared to respond to the situation that arose when demonstrations began in the country. Among the numerous recommendations included in the report, the BICI suggested that the nation
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, including those in the chain of command, military and civilian, who are found to be responsible under international standards ofsuperior responsibility.The special commission is set to evaluate the BICI report and make its own recommendations [AP report] by February of next year.
Last week, the Bahrain government admitted the use of excessive force [JURIST report] in the protests. This admission, which was made in anticipation of the independent BICI report, was a reversal of the government's previous defense of its actions [CNN report]. In June, Khalifa announced that an independent commission would investigate human rights violations [JURIST report] related to the country's pro-democracy protests. Earlier that month, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official websites] announced that Bahrain agreed to permit a UN commission [JURIST report] to investigate human rights violations related to protests. In April, human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Doctors Without Borders (DWB) [advocacy websites] criticized Bahrain for rampant human rights abuses [JURIST report] related to anti-government protests.