The Report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, released at the same time of its submission to HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on 23rd November 2011, can be downloaded in its entirety and is available on the homepage.
The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry was established on 29th June 2011 in the Kingdom of Bahrain pursuant to Royal Order No. 28 by His Majesty, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. The Commission was tasked with investigating and reporting on the events that took place in Bahrain from February 2011, and the consequences of those events.
The Commission was asked to determine whether the events of February and March 2011 (and thereafter) involved violations of international human rights law and norms, and to make the recommendations that it deems appropriate. The Commission was asked to provide a complete narrative of the events and the context for these events; to describe any acts of violence that occurred, as well as the actors involved in such acts; and to investigate instances of alleged police brutality and violence by protestors and demonstrators against others. The Commission was asked to explore the circumstances and appropriateness of arrests and detentions; to examine allegations of disappearances and torture; to probe allegations of media harassment and other pressure tactics used against participants in demonstrations and public protests; to discuss the alleged unlawful demolition of religious structures; and to describe the alleged involvement of foreign forces and actors.
Although Commissions of Inquiry are often created by external mandate, the Bahraini Commission of Inquiry was the product of internal decision-making and benefited from 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 contained a number of features that contributed to the Commission’s integrity and independence, including the following:
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; and
the Commission’s final report will be made public in its entirety.