Judiciary of Bahrain

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The Judiciary of Bahrain is the court system of Bahrain. It is divided into two branches: the Civil Law Courts and the Shari'a Law Courts. The Civil Law Courts deal with all commercial, civil, and criminal cases, as well disputes related to the personal status of non-Muslims. The Shari’a Law Courts have jurisdiction over all issues related to the personal status of Muslims.[1]

Judges of the middle and lower courts are nominated by the Ministry of Justice and appointed by decree by the prime minister. The Supreme Judicial Council, chaired by the King, appoints the members of the Constitutional Court.[1]

Many of the high-ranking judges in Bahrain are either members of the ruling family or non-Bahrainis (mainly Egyptians) with 2-year renewable contracts. To secure renewal of these contracts, judges may be prone to consider it necessary to take decisions not unfavourable to the wishes or interests of the Government.[2]

Court of Cassation[edit]

The Court of Cassation was established in 1989 as a supreme court of appeal. It serves as the final court of appeal for all civil, commercial, and criminal matters.[1] The judges for the court are appointed and removed by royal decree.[3] The current Chief Justice of Bahrain and president of the Court of Cassation is Khalifa bin Rashid Al Khalifa, a cousin of King Hamad and the prime minister, and a member of the Al Khalifa ruling family of Bahrain.[4]

National Safety Court[edit]

The National Safety Court (Arabic: محكمة السلامة الوطنية‎) is a special military court that was set up in March 2011 to try protesters, opposition leaders, rights activists, and people who supported or are perceived as supporting the Bahraini uprising.[5] A military judge presides over the court, along with two civilian judges, all of them appointed by the Bahrain Defence Force commander-in-chief, Marshal Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Khalifa,[5] a cousin of King Hamad and the prime minister, and a member of the Al Khalifa royal family. The cases are prosecuted by the military public prosecuter Colonel Yousef Rashid Flaifel.[6]

The National Safety Court has been heavily criticized by international human rights organizations for trying civilians in a military court and for the lack of transparency and due process. Human Rights Watch has described the court as a "travesty of justice",[7] while Amnesty International has described it as a "sham"[8] and "a parody of justice."[9]

In June 2011, King Hamad announced that all trials related to the protests would be transferred from the National Safety Court to the normal civilian courts. However he backtracked on August 18 issuing a decree which makes it clear that the new measures do not apply to all arrested protesters.[9]

Trials[edit]

On 9 January 2012, Ali al-Ghanmi, a former policeman who came to public attention for leaving his post and joining protesters in February 2011, was sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]