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.

Prof M. Cherif Bassiouni speech on 23rd November

Final Audit of the BICI Account

15 08 2011

Bahrain Commission of Inquiry Statement on events at their offices

In light of recent allegations that the Bahrain Commission of Inquiry (BICI) has reached a determination on its investigation, as well as verbal and physical attacks on its staff, the BICI wishes to make the following statement.

Despite misleading headlines in recent news articles claiming that the Commission has determined that the government of Bahrain committed no crimes against humanity during the demonstrations that have occurred over the last several months, the Commission would like to clarify that it has not made any such determination. The Commission’s investigation is ongoing and will continue until all relevant evidence has been gathered. Its staff is still in the process of interviewing victims and witnesses, collecting evidence, and evaluating the circumstances. The Commission will not make a determination as to the extent of human rights abuses in Bahrain until its investigation is complete. Because certain media outlets and activists have misrepresented the comments of the Commission Chair, Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni, in order to support their political positions, for the time being, the Commission will no longer entertain interviews to the media. Should the Commission decide that a public statement is necessary, it will provide this information on its website, www.bici.org.bh. The Commission will not allow itself to be used as a political tool for any group.

Additionally, the Commission’s office is hereby closed until further notice. This is due to the fact that today, hundreds of people forced their way into our office, having been angered over what they believed to be the Commission Chair’s “conclusions” on the investigation, and additionally having been directed by activists on Twitter and through mass texts to come to the office to report their complaints. The Commission believes its doors should be open to anyone who wishes to come forward and provide information on human rights abuses. However, as we have advised on our website and on Twitter, appointments must be made in order for our investigators to best serve the witnesses and victims. After attempting to accommodate the crowd by offering to take down their information in order to schedule appointments, some in the crowd became restless and verbally and physically threatened the staff. Individuals yelled insults, posted threatening messages on the office walls, sent threats via text and email, and even physically shoved and spat at a member of staff. Individuals also continued to photograph and video record people in the office, despite advice from staff that such actions undermine the confidentiality and safety of the many witnesses and victims coming forward. While the Commission’s staff is committed to conducting its investigation, it will not jeopardize the security of the individuals that work at and patron the office. While the office remains closed, investigators will continue to accept statements submitted by email.

The Commission is concerned about the attacks upon the integrity of its Commissioners and staff. Its Commissioners are comprised of the foremost international criminal law and human rights experts. To learn more about their backgrounds, please visit our website. Similarly, the Commission’s staff is comprised of international judges, human rights lawyers and advocates who have established reputations in their fields. The staff has worked tirelessly to hear evidence from all witnesses and victims who have contacted the Commission to tell their story, including by visiting prisons, hospitals and demonstration sites, as well as by staying at the office until well past midnight in order to accommodate the high volume of interview requests.

The Commission remains committed to its mission to investigate the events in February and March. We would like to assure the public that none of its staff have resigned as a result of recent events. Though our office is temporarily closed, the work will continue. Our staff will continue its investigation and will issue a report with recommendations as scheduled, as per our mandate. We ask the people, organizations, institutions and government of Bahrain for their cooperation in making this investigation a fair and successful one. As the Commission continues its work, anyone who would like to reach us may contact us by email at outreach@bici.org.bh