Amnesty International said, in a statement released on Monday (April 3, 2017), that King of Bahrain ratified a constitutional amendment that paves the way for military trials of civilians, in yet another example of Bahrain’s efforts to dismantle access to justice and fair trial.
“This constitutional amendment is a disaster for the future of fair trials and justice in Bahrain. It is part of a broader pattern where the government uses the courts to crackdown on all forms of opposition at the expense of human rights,” said Lynn Maalouf, head of research at Amnesty International’s regional office in Beirut.
“Instead of moving to correct its shameful history of unfair trials and impunity for violations, authorities in Bahrain have decided to further undermine faith in the independence and fairness of the courts and of the justice system as a whole.”
“Trials before military courts violate fundamental requirements of international law and standards for fair trial, as recognized by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Bahrain is a State Party,” said Lynn Maalouf.
“To avoid a lurch backwards to the dark days of martial law, the amendment should be repealed. And the Bahraini authorities must undertake a serious reform of their laws and of the justice system, in line with their obligations under international law.”