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“You’re dealing with a governmental system - and particularly a system of justice - which was not equipped and ready to receive the types of cases that the events produced,” Mr. Bassiouni said. He noted that only seven indictments of “low-level enlisted men” had been issued since his report’s November release.

Mr. Bassiouni returned to Bahrain last week to assess the steps authorities have taken in response to his report.

“[The king] said to me, ‘You know, the reason I’ve asked you to come back is precisely because I want an honest assessment of what’s being done,’ ” he said.

His assessment: “I would say at the decision-making level it’s an A, and the execution level it’s probably a C+.”

Mr. Bassiouni will return to Bahrain next month before issuing a follow-up report assessing the authorities’ performance in implementing his recommendations.