On 25 and 26 April 2017, the IRZ organised a conference in Rabat on the “Independence of the Judiciary”, in cooperation with the Moroccan Ministry of Justice. The event was part of a project financed by the German Foreign Office (Transformation partnerships with North Africa/the Middle East) and was held at the Moroccan law academy (Institut Supérieur de la Magistrature) in Rabat.

The subject of judicial independence is an elementary component of the reform agenda for the Moroccan justice system and is a priority for the progress of judicial reform. The conference therefore attracted some high-ranking participants. It was opened by the Minister of Justice for Morocco, Mohamed Aoujar, and subsequently led by the President of the Moroccan Court of Cassation, the Public Prosecutor General of Morocco and other high-ranking representatives of the Moroccan courts.

In Morocco, it was only last summer, as part of the current judicial reform process, that a High Judicial Council was set up as an independent committee of judicial autonomy. The High Judicial Council is a firm part of the Moroccan constitution but has only just started its activity as a new institution in Morocco's justice system. Therefore, any kind of support in terms of guaranteeing the independence of the judiciary is very welcome, especially from the German side.

During both days of the conference, the experts participating on behalf of the IRZ, former Public Prosecutor General Walter Selter and Dr. Fabian Krapoth, Director of the Regional Court of Waldbröl, maintained an intense exchange of information with their Moroccan colleagues on various aspects of the independence of the judiciary, using German experience as an example.

The focus of the expert lectures and discussions was on the foundations for guaranteeing judicial independence and on the practical implementation of the required mechanisms and structures (organisation of jurisdiction, self-governing and co-determination bodies). These structures in particular have once again been revised, in the areas of the judiciary and prosecution respectively.

The Moroccan participants were especially interested in the areas of public service law (in particular punishment for breaches of official duties, public liability) and professional ethics. In view of the fruitful exchange between colleagues on both sides, it would seem to be very useful to continue working on individual aspects concerning the “independence of the judiciary”. In fact, the Minister of Justice and the Public Prosecutor General emphasised the importance of working with the IRZ on several occasions during the event and expressed their wishes for this cooperation to intensify and continue.