The Bahrain authorities must fully cooperate with the UN mechanisms and implement the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) set up by the Government of Bahrain in June 2011.
The ICJ further calls on the Bahrain authorities to ensure that the recommendations from the UN Universal Periodic Review process in September 2012 are implemented in full and in good faith and, to this end, immediately extend an invitation with specific dates to the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez (photo).
The statement comes as the authorities in Bahrain effectively cancelled a visit of the Special Rapporteur for the second time, a previous visit in March 2012 also having been postponed at the last minute.
“As a former member of the BICI, I find it extremely disappointing that Bahrain has taken this decision for the second time. It keeps dangling the possibility of a visit when it is under pressure to do something about implementing the BICI recommendations,” said Sir Nigel Rodley, President of the ICJ. “One does not have to be a cynic to infer that once the pressure eases – for example, because the Human Rights Council has concluded its review of Bahrain’s human rights performance or the Formula One race is over – it can then withdraw its invitation. I hope the international community will take account of this pattern, when reacting to positive assurances from the authorities. Promises are no substitute for implementation.”
The report of the BICI, published in November 2011, documented numerous cases of torture and ill-treatment.
It further made crucial recommendations for reform so as to prevent these and other violations in the future, including effective investigations into all cases of torture and ill-treatment by an independent and impartial body; the establishment of 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; and the compensation and provision of remedies for all victims.
“The BICI’s recommendations included ones to address the serious problem of torture in Bahrain, a problem I had identified in the 1990s when I held the mandate Juan Mendez now discharges with consummate professionalism. One may perhaps be pardoned for considering that the only threat posed by the visit to the political situation is the fear of what information would be uncovered by the visit,” Sir Nigel Rodley concluded.
Said Benarbia, ICJ Senior Legal Adviser of the Middle East and North Africa Programme, t: +41 22 979 3817, e-mail: said.benarbia(a)icj.org
UN Photo/Rick Bajornas