Bassiouni discusses forthcoming Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry report for WBEZ's Worldview
President Emeritus of the DePaul College of Law's International Human Rights Law Institute and Chairman of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) Cherif Bassiouni opened up to WBEZ in an interview that aired last week on the topic of BICI's highly-anticipated report, due later this month.
(Media-Newswire.com) - President Emeritus of the DePaul College of Law’s International Human Rights Law Institute and Chairman of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry ( BICI ) Cherif Bassiouni opened up to WBEZ in an interview that aired last week on the topic of BICI's highly-anticipated report, due later this month. Professor Bassiouni said report findings will produce “bitter pills to swallow” for the Bahraini government, particularly as the commission exposes the mistakes made along the way.
For the past three months, Professor Bassiouni and BICI commissioners have been leading an investigation into the crackdown on the Shiite opposition in Bahrain, following the mass demonstrations in February and March of this year. The ensuing trials have been closely watched by human rights groups, who questioned Bahrain’s prosecution of civilians at the special security court—a court that includes military prosecutors and both civilian and military judges. Bahraini courts sentenced 60 individuals to prison for their involvement in the protest and last week news reports announced that physicians who treated protestors in Bahrain received prison terms ranging from 5-15 years.
The premise of the commission is a pioneering one. Established on June 29 by Royal Decree by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, BICI is comprised of carefully selected, internationally recognized commissioners, tasked solely with investigating the events surrounding the demonstration. Or, as Professor Bassiouni put it, “pursuing the truth wherever that may lead us.” Recalling the “enormous” amount of work done over the two month period of time, Bassiouni told WBEZ the commission has reviewed over 5,200 complaints and interviewed over 2,400 persons in an attempt to take into account every allegation of torture.
Addressing the skepticism and press spins from all angles, Bassiouni said he takes them as a good sign of his neutrality. As for the perplexing move of the U.S. to resume arms sale to Bahrain without waiting for the Commission's report ( and three months after including Bahrain on a list of human rights offenders requiring U.N. attention ), he expressed frustration, wondering aloud, “Who decided, 'this is the right time to do it'?"
Though he conceded the many gray areas involved, Professor Bassiouni said there is "no doubt in my mind that the sentences were extraordinarily high . . . The process was botched."
The commission is expected to report its findings by Oct. 30th.
This story was released on 2011-10-13. Please make sure to visit the official company or organization web site to learn more about the original release date. See our disclaimer for additional information.