According to the 489-page report, the Commission received 8,110 complaints of various human rights violations. The Commission also met with, and examined the reports received from, national and international organizations and the media. To facilitate its reporting, the Commission categorized the alleged violations into several different groups, including: deaths, torture, physical mistreatment, psychological and sexual abuse, rapes, arbitrary arrests and detention, disappearances or missing persons, unfair trials, media censorship, etc. While the report expressly states that the Commission was not tasked with determining "which side is responsible for what outcomes," the Commission did conclude that "there is no doubt that what occurred in February/March, and subsequently, was the result of an escalating process in which both the Government and the opposition have their share of responsibility in allowing events to unfold as they did."
Significantly, the Commission found that a systematic pattern of behavior existed with respect to how security forces, and other government agencies, dealt with detainees. According to the report, "many detainees were subjected to torture and other forms of physical and psychological abuse while in custody." Finally, the Commission also noted the lack of accountability of security forces, which in turn has "led to a culture of impunity, whereby security officials have few incentives to avoid mistreatment of prisoners or to take action to prevent mistreatment by other officials."
The Commission's recommendations were both violation-specific and general. In general, the Commission recommended that a national reconciliation commission be established to address the human rights violations committed by government actors and resulting "in the deaths, torture and mistreatment of civilians." The aim of the reconciliation program would be "to bring legal and disciplinary action against . . . individuals, including those in the chain of command, military and civilian, who are found to be responsible under international standards of superior responsibility."
The five Commission members, who began their work in July 2011, were selected by King Hamad and include Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni (Chair), Judge Philippe Kirsch QC, Professor Sir Nigel Simon Rodley, Dr. Mahnoush H. Arsanjani, and Dr. Badria A. Al Awadhi.