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Top British QCs Appointed to Help Bahrain Push Reforms
03 : 44 PM - 04/01/2012
Information Affairs Authority , Manama, Jan. 4. (BNA) -- Two top British lawyers have been appointed to assist the Government of Bahrain in pushing through the recommendations on human rights featuring in the final report of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI).
Sir Daniel Bethlehem KCMG QC, former principal Legal Adviser to the UK Foreign Office, and Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC, Emeritus Professor of Public Law at UniversityCollege London, will begin their crucial work this month.
They will be joined shortly by other leading international lawyers with expertise in areas such as international human rights and civil law, relevant to the implementation of the BICI recommendations.
Sir Daniel and Sir Jeffrey will be responsible for advising on a number of important accountability mechanisms, including establishing a national watchdog to bring to justice police officers responsible for torture, death or mistreatment of civilians. The Government has pledged that the recommendations of the Bahrain IndependentCommission of Inquiry will be implemented by the end of February.
Many of the recommendations have already been implemented, and all others have either been partially implemented or are in progress via the new National Commission charged with seeing the reforms through. Already the Commission and Government have taken action in the following areas:
• All charges against protestors relating to freedom of speech dropped;
• All public sector employees dismissed for free speech activity reinstated; private sector employees' reinstatement under discussion
• Judicial panel of civilian judges set up to review convictions and verdicts on protestors by the National Safety Courts
• The Public Prosecutor pursuing 28 police and security officers over deaths and torture since the BICI report, in addition to the 20 officers already investigated;
• The National Security Agency, which was heavily criticised in the report, has been stripped of its law enforcement and arrest powers, and its chief replaced;
• All interviews by the police of civilian suspects will be recorded on film;
• An extensive programme on public order, arrest and detention training to be conducted by UK and US 'super cops';
• Immediate recruitment drive to create 500 jobs for all sections of Bahrain society within the Ministry of Interior at the officer level to support an expansion of community police operations;
• Committee put in place on the reconstruction of mosques, with construction already underway on four sites. It is to be noted that the website tracking the BICI implementation is: www.govactions.bh Sir Daniel Bethlehem QC was the principal Legal Adviser of the United KingdomForeign & Commonwealth Office from May 2006 to May 2011.

He was before that the Director of the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University ofCambridge, a Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge and one of the leading practitioners internationally in the field of public international law at the London Bar.

Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC is renowned internationally as a leading expert on public, administrative and constitutional law. He was until recently the United Kingdom member of the Council of Europe's Venice Commission for Democracy Through Law. In addition to his practice as a Barrister at the London Bar, he is the inauguralDirector of the London-based Bingham Centre on the Rule of Law, having been previously been Professor of Public Law at University College London.

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