- Published: April 15, 2019
On 27 March 2019, high-profile expert talks were held in Rabat with members of the Committee for Justice, Legislation and Human Rights in the Moroccan parliament, representatives of the Moroccan Institute of Legal and Forensic Medicine (SMML) and the Moroccan Public Prosecutor’s Office. The discussions focussed on the current issues concerning the development of a professional code for forensic scientists in Morocco.
The event was part of a three-year project, which started in 2017 and is being led by the IRZ until the end of this year together with the Institute of Legal and Forensic Medicine at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. This project is being supported by the German Foreign Office as part of the Transformation Partnerships with North Africa/the Middle East.
Objectives of the project:
- Supporting independent legal and forensic medicine in Morocco by providing continued training and education for forensic scientists,
- supporting Moroccan partners in the development of a professional code and
- improving the cooperation between the justice system and legal and forensic medicine by providing continued training for judges and public prosecutors in legal and forensic medicine.
The expert talks were a continuation of the discussions, which began last year, on the draft legislation for a professional code for forensic scientists in Morocco. The objective of the meeting was to have an open exchange about the current draft, both from the legislator’s point of view and from a practical point of view (forensic scientists and public prosecutors in Morocco). The event was the first joint exchange of experiences between forensic scientists, public prosecutors and parliamentarians on the draft version of a professional code.
Prof. Dr. Michael Bohnert, Head of the Institute of Legal and Forensic Medicine at the University of Würzburg, was appointed by the IRZ to take part in these discussions. Morocco was represented at a high level by the First Deputy to the President of the Committee for Justice, Legislation and Human Rights in the Moroccan parliament, the representative of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office at the Moroccan Public Prosecutor's Office and the Head of the Moroccan Institute of Legal and Forensic Medicine.
The following are some of the difficulties and challenges faced by forensic medicine in Morocco:
- Lack of financial, institutional and organisational structures,
- outstanding remuneration issues,
- lack of experts,
- need for new young talent and further training,
- admission criteria,
- legal and personal protection for forensic scientists.
- The intense discussions also focussed on specifying the scope of work for legal and forensic medicine and establishing quality standards for forensic investigations, such as autopsies, and for forensic reports. These topics will be dealt with in the draft legislation. All those attending the talks agreed that there should be a particular emphasis in the draft legislation on the important role played by legal and forensic medicine in supporting the work of the justice system and, above all, in guaranteeing a fair trial.
The Moroccan partners expressed great interest in continuing the discussions before the last reading of the draft legislation in the Moroccan parliament and the passing of the law, which is planned for June this year. Another meeting will therefore take place in the autumn on the specific issues concerned with implementing the law.