September 26, 2023

Bahrain establishes National Committee for International Humanitarian Law

king_1402MANAMA- His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa today(May 15th) issued Royal Decree 39 for this year, establishing the National Committee for International Humanitarian Law.

The panel will be chaired by the Minister of Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments. It comprises representatives from the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF)’s Military Judiciary, the Interior Ministry’s General Directorate of Civil Defence, the Foreign Ministry, the Education Ministry, the Health Ministry, the Information Affairs Authority, the National Institution for Human Rights, the University of Bahrain and the Bahrain Red Crescent Society as members.

The Deputy Chairman and members, nominated by the sides mentioned above, shall be appointed as per an edict to be issued by the Committee Chairman. 

The Committee will be in charge of all issues related to implementing and applying the International Humanitarian Law (IHL), and shall develop the kingdom’s IHL policies, strategies and plans.

It shall exchange information and expertise with national, regional and international IHL committees, consolidate cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross and other relevant IHL sides, conduct research and studies in IHL and issue publications relating to the principles and of international humanitarian law and how to apply them.

It shall also study recommendations and reports relating to IHL and follow-up on them with the concerned sides, review all national laws to ensure they comply with international protocols, conventions and agreements, develop IHL programmes to be included in school curricula and propose and organise programmes to prepare, train and rehabilitate national IHL cadres.

The panel may form sub-committees to discuss key issues and submit results to it. It may request any expert(s) to conduct studies and research within its jurisdiction.

The Decree also stipulates that that panel shall convene once in three months, whenever need arises, at the request of its Chairman. The meetings will be not be valid unless the majority of its members, including necessarily the Chairman or Deputy Chairman, are present.

The committee’s decisions are issued by the majority of the votes of the attending members and the Chairman or Deputy Chairman’s vote will be decisive in case of a tie.

It may invite expert(s) or consultants to attend its meetings, whenever it deems necessary, but without granting them the right to vote.

During its first meeting, the committee shall put forward its own by-law, to be issued as per an edict by the Chairman and will include meeting regulations, and ways to prepare reports and recommendations.

The panel shall also submit its recommendations to the cabinet to take the necessary decisions regarding them.

It shall have a Secretariat to be in charge all its technical and administrative affairs and follow-up on the implementation of its recommendations with the relevant sides.

The committee will have a special budget, to be included in that of Justice Ministry.

HM the King issued Royal Decrees 40 and 41 for this year, appointing Dr. Dhafer Ahmed Al-Omran as Assistant Undersecretary for GCC and Western Countries’ Affairs at the Foreign Ministry and Khalil Yaqoob Al-Khayat as Assistant Undersecretary for Human and Financial Resources and Information Systems at the same ministry. -BNA

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