Morocco – annual report 2020

Participants at the seminar on “Humane treatment of detainees in the Moroccan penitentiary system” in March 2020 in Tangier
Participants at the seminar on “Humane treatment of detainees in the Moroccan penitentiary system” in March 2020 in Tangier

Strategic Framework 

Legal Policy Starting Point 

Morocco continues to push ahead with the reform process initiated by King Mohamed VI in the wake of the Arab Spring in early 2011. Parliament and the government have been discussing the draft for a revised Criminal Code since 2016 and the draft for a new Code of Criminal Procedure since 2015. Reform objectives include the imposition of alternative punishments and limitations in the application and length of pre-trial detention. However, both legislative proposals have experienced delays. The government is engaged in other long-standing socio-economic reform projects, for example within the framework of the “National Initiative for Human Development” (INDH).

Morocco responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020 by introducing a comprehensive lockdown that brought public life to a standstill until September 2020. The government is introducing extensive regulations and investment measures in an attempt to cushion the economic impact of the pandemic. The issue of digitalising the Moroccan judiciary came to the fore during this period and has prompted the government to develop suitable reform strategies.

Overall Concept 

Building on the cooperation with Morocco that has existed since 2014, two multi-year projects funded by the Federal Foreign Office began in 2017 on the topics of forensic medicine and reform of the penitentiary system. Both of these projects address important elements of the judicial reform being pursued in Morocco. As a result, both chambers of the Moroccan parliament approved a draft law on the professional code of conduct for forensic medical examiners at the beginning of 2020; drafting of this law had been supported as part of the forensic medicine project that was brought to a successful conclusion in 2019. Key components of the penitentiary system project include the vital training of prison staff according to the principle of “Train the trainer”, resocialisation of inmates and modernisation of the administrative structures within the Moroccan penitentiary authority DGAPR (Délégation générale à l’administration pénitentiaire et à la réinsertion). In addition, IRZ equipped an IT training centre at the Kénitra Prison with computers and printers in close cooperation with DGAPR. Cooperation between the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and the Moroccan Ministry of Justice also prioritised aspects of criminal and civil law as well as the topic of “good governance” in judicial administration.

It became necessary to restructure the implementation of the project due to global restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. To ensure that the project objectives were achieved, IRZ, in close coordination with its project partners, therefore switched its measures to virtual formats wherever possible.

Focus of Activity in 2020 

Civil and Commercial Law 

  • Trilateral online exchange of experience with the Tunisian and Moroccan Ministries of Justice on the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

Criminal and Penitentiary Law

  • Online seminar “Alternative sanctions and alternatives to pre-trial detention” with the Moroccan Ministry of Justice and the Moroccan General Prosecutor’s Office
  • Seminar “Humane treatment of detainees in the Moroccan penitentiary system” with DGAPR in Tangier
  • Seminar “Vocational, technical and artistic education of inmates” for prison staff, among others, in cooperation with DGAPR in Marrakesh
  • Online seminar “Management of DGAPR prison staff”

Administration of Justice

  • Online seminar “Modernising judicial administration and good governance in the judiciary” together with the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and the Moroccan Ministry of Justice
  • Online seminar “Digitisation of the judiciary” with the Moroccan Ministry of Justice and the High Council of the Judiciary
  • Participation by members of the Moroccan Ministry of Justice in the online regional conference “Electronic legal transactions – digitisation of the judiciary” in cooperation with the German Federal Bar
  • Support for the technical library at the Moroccan Ministry of Justice

Project funded by the European Union 

EU Technical Assistance Project: “Assistance technique auprès de la Délégation Générale à l’Administration Pénitentiaire et à la Réinsertion pour appuyer la mise en œuvre des Politiques de réinsertion sociale des détenus et de prévention de la récidive”

Since the end of 2018, IRZ has been involved in the implementation of this 34-month project on the penitentiary system in Morocco under the leadership of DMI Associates from France, which enables excellent exploitation of existing synergies within the bilateral work. The project aims to support the reform of the Moroccan criminal law system and in particular to improve standards in the penitentiary system, resocialisation of prisoners and the prevention of recidivism. The principal beneficiary is the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration in Morocco (DGAPR).

Among the focuses of the project is the issue of university research, which aims to facilitate the establishment of a research consortium involving DGAPR and universities in Morocco. This also included discussions in penitentiary institutions on the practicality of research findings for prison enforcement. A draft contract was then developed with DGAPR that is designed to enable academics to conduct research in correctional facilities

The following results were also achieved:

  • Development of an intake manual for prisoners
  • Preparation of a report on alternative punishments
  • Performance of an audit of the counselling and preparatory services for reintegration
  • Preparation of a report on training needs in the area of social reintegration
  • Identification and compilation of relevant associations in the area of reintegration
  • Preparation of a draft communication strategy and action plan

Outlook 

IRZ plans to continue and to intensify its engagement in the aforementioned subject areas in 2021 and, if possible, also in the areas of civil and commercial law. The penitentiary system project described in more detail above will be extended into 2021. This additional time will be used to hold the “Train the trainer” seminars which were postponed due to the pandemic. The objective is to achieve a multiplier effect and to ensure the project’s long-term impact. In this regard, support will be provided to train detainees in IT topics using the new equipment in the IT training centre.

Furthermore, cooperation with the Moroccan Ministry of Justice and the Moroccan Public Prosecutor’s Office will also be broadened in the area of criminal law. At the explicit request of the Moroccan partners, IRZ plans to offer its support in the conception and introduction of alternative punishments. Other priority topics concern the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the judiciary and strategies for digitisation in this area.

Morocco - annual report 2019

Participants in the exchange of experience on the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in Rabat
Participants in the exchange of experience on the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in Rabat

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

Initiated by Mohammed VI of Morocco, a new constitution came into force at the beginning of 2011, shortly after the Arab Spring. The central objectives of the reform efforts are to strengthen the independence of the judiciary and the protection of human rights. At the same time, a revision of criminal law was enacted within the Charter of the Judiciary System Reform. In 2016, the reform process gained new momentum with the draft legislation for a new Code of Criminal Procedure. The reform goals of the current draft legislation are to apply alternative sentences and to limit the imposition and duration of pre-trial detention. In the same year, the Moroccan Minister of Justice announced that 78 percent of the recommendations contained in the Charter of the Judiciary System Reform had already been implemented.

Overall Concept

Two further multi-year projects on forensic medicine and penitentiary system reform were launched as part of the intensified cooperation in 2017. Both projects address thematically important aspects of judicial reform. The forensic medicine project was carried out until the end of 2019 in cooperation with Charité Berlin and the Moroccan Public Prosecutor‘s Office and focused on further training for forensic doctors and legal professionals, including in the fields of criminal procedural law and toxicology. Support was also provided in the development of a professional code of conduct for forensic doctors.

The key components of the penitentiary system project are training of prison staff, resocialisation of inmates and modernisation of administrative structures within the Moroccan penitentiary authority. The project was extended by one year at the beginning of 2019 and will now run until the end of 2020. In addition, the components were expanded so that seminars will be held in different regions. IRZ will also equip an IT training facility for inmates of a pilot penitentiary.

Furthermore, the priority within cooperation is on cooperation in criminal and civil law. For instance, questions are addressed concerning extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties, as well as the implementation of civil law aspects of international child abduction.

Focus of Activity in 2019

Civil and Commercial Law

  • Participation of a high-ranking German delegation in the Marrakesh International Justice Conference ”Justice and Investment: Challenges and Stakes”
  • Exchange of experience in Rabat on the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Three expert talks in Rabat on the current draft legislation concerning a professional code for forensic doctors
  • Seven expert talks on the topic of ”Important foundations of criminal law for forensic doctors“ within the framework of internships by Moroccan forensic doctors at Charité in Berlin
  • Seminars ”Cooperation between the judiciary, forensic medicine and the police using the example of a corpse discovery“ in Agadir, Marrakesh and Fès
  • Two delegation trips to Berlin on the topic of ”Possibilities for successful collaboration between the judiciary and forensic medicine“
  • Seminars on ”Introduction to toxicology“ in Marrakesh and Tangier
  • Seminars in Marrakesh, Rabat and Tétouan on the humane treatment of inmates
  • Seminars for the vocational, technical and artistic education of inmates in Casablanca and Fès
  • Seminars on social and psychological support for inmates in Casablanca and Tétouan
  • Seminars in Rabat and Tangier on the management of prison staff for the Délégation générale à l’administration pénitentiaire et à la réinsertion (DGAPR)
  • Seminars in Casablanca and Rabat on the topic ”Governance in cooperation between penitentiary authority and the individual institutions“
  • Symposium in Berlin on the practice of international legal cooperation in criminal matters, with participants from the Ministries of Justice and the Public Prosecutors‘ Offices of Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal and Tunisia

Project funded by the European Union

EU Technical Assistance Project: Assistance technique auprès de la Délégation Générale à l‘Administration Pénitentiaire et à la Réinsertion pour appuyer la mise en œuvre des Politiques de réinsertion sociale des détenus et de prévention de la récidive

IRZ participates in this project on the penitentiary system in Morocco, under the leadership of DMI Associates from France, since the end of 2018. The project is scheduled to run for 34 months and has a budget of almost €3.0 million. It aims to support the reform of the Moroccan criminal justice system. The principal objectives are to improve standards in the penitentiary system, support the resocialisation of prisoners and prevent recidivism. The main beneficiary is the General Delegation for Prison Administration in Morocco (DGAPR).

One example of an activity is a training programme at the Tiflet training centre. In total, 102 professionals working in various prisons and 10 regional directorates were trained in the procedures for the admission of inmates. A working group analysed existing practices and developed proposals on how to bring the current system in line with international standards.

In November 2019 eleven experts from the Orientation and Reintegration Readiness Service attended an exchange visit to Belgium. The purpose of the visit was to help review the impact of existing intervention programmes and to make proposals for their improvement.

Outlook

IRZ plans to continue its commitment in the above fields and intensify cooperation with its Moroccan partners in 2020. In the penitentiary project, training of trainers seminars will be organised to ensure a multiplier effect and to enhance project sustainability.

There are also plans to deepen cooperation with the Ministry of Justice and the Public Prosecutor‘s Office in the field of criminal law. A reform process began in Morocco as early as 2016, resulting in the draft for a new Code of Criminal Procedure. The reform goals of the current draft legislation are the application of alternative sentences and the limitation in use and duration of pre-trial detention. At the explicit request of the Moroccan partners, IRZ would like to offer its support in achieving these reform goals.

Moreover, interministerial cooperation between Morocco and Germany will be intensified. Professional priorities will include the judicial administration, minimum standards in criminal proceedings (rights of the accused) and alternative penal sanctions.

 

Morocco - annual report 2018

Participants at the seminar “Corpse discovery – interaction between the judiciary and forensic medicine“ in Marrakesh
Participants at the seminar “Corpse discovery – interaction between the judiciary and forensic medicine“ in Marrakesh

Strategic Framework

Legal Policy Starting Point

King Mohamed VI of Morocco has initiated numerous political reforms since the Arab Spring of early 2011. He revised the constitution and therefore strengthened the power of the prime minister and parliament. The declared goal was to advance the independence of the judiciary and the protection of human rights. Announced in 2013, the comprehensive judicial reform was intended as the second important step towards this goal. Six key strategic objectives, including modernisation of judicial administration, assuring the independence of the judiciary and a reform of criminal law, were laid out in the Charter of the Judiciary System Reform. Among other things, the promotion of modern and regulated forensic medicine was designed to bolster the independence of the judiciary. Also included within criminal law were a revision of sentencing for certain offences, as well as the establishment of a sweeping resocialisation programme.

The Minister of Justice officially declared in 2016 that 78 percent of the Charter recommendations had been implemented.

Overall Concept

Following an initial successful cooperation in 2014, the IRZ decided to intensify and expand relations with Morocco in the area of the rule of law in coordination with the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection and the German Federal Foreign Office. Within this framework, the IRZ completed a project from 2015 to 2017 to implement legal reforms with its Moroccan partners, the Ministry of Justice and the Court of Cassation. In addition, two further projects on the topics of forensic medicine and the penitentiary system were launched in 2017. Both of these projects address important aspects of the judicial reform and are intended to help achieve the aforementioned goals. The forensic medicine project is being carried out in collaboration with the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences at Charité Berlin. Its main objective is to provide further training to forensic doctors and legal professionals, among others in the areas of criminal procedure law and toxicology. Moreover, the development of a professional code for forensic physicians will also be supported. The penitentiary system project places a particular focus on the basic training of prison staff and the resocialisation of inmates. Both cooperation projects span several years and are intended to run until the end of 2019.

Foci of Activity in 2018

Criminal Law and Penitentiary Law

  • Seminar in Rabat on the preparation of a professional code for forensic doctors
  • Expert talk in Rabat on the current draft legislation concerning a professional code for forensic doctors
  • Six expert talks on the topic of “Important foundations of criminal law for forensic doctors“ within the framework of internships by Moroccan forensic doctors at Charité - Universtätsmedizin Berlin
  • Three seminars on the topic of “Corpse discovery – interaction between the judiciary and forensic medicine“ in Marrakesh, Casablanca and Tangier
  • Two delegation trips to Berlin on the topic of “Potential of forensic medicine for legal professionals“
  • Two seminars in Casablanca and Agadir on the introduction of toxicology
  • Two seminars on the topic of “Humane treatment of inmates“ in Rabat
  • Cross-cutting delegation trip to Berlin on the humane treatment of inmates, as well as on the basic vocational, trades and artistic training for inmates
  • Two seminars in Rabat on basic vocational, trades and artistic training for inmates
  • Two seminars in Rabat on social and psychological support for inmates
  • Seminar on the topic “Good governance in cooperation between the administration of the penal system and the individual penal institutions” in Rabat

Project funded by the European Union

EU Technical Asisstance project: Assistance technique auprès de la Délégation Générale à l‘Administration Pénitentiaire et à la Réinsertion pour appuyer la mise en œuvre des Politiques de réinsertion sociale des détenus et de prévention de la récidive

The IRZ acquired this project on the penitentiary system in Morocco, which will be under the leadership of DMI Associates from France, at the end of 2018. Other partners are B&S Europe from Belgium and GEPSA, also from France. The consortium won the bidding process against four other competitors. Its budget is just short of €3 million.

The underlying purpose is to improve standards within the penitentiary system, provide resocialisation for inmates and prevent recidivism.

At present, the entire criminal law system in Morocco is undergoing sweeping reforms. This project aims to support the process as a whole. Within this framework, the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners should be applied. The principal beneficiary is the Directorate General for the Correctional Service and Resocialisation in Morocco (Délégation Génerale de l’Administration Pénitentaire et à la Réinsertion).

The contract between the consortium and the EU was signed in late November 2018. Its term – and therefore the start of work for the three long-term experts – began on 1 December 2018. A kick-off event in Rabat on 6 December 2018 marked the official launch of the project. The contract will run for 34 months.

Outlook

The IRZ plans to continue its commitment in the above fields and intensify cooperation with its Moroccan partners in 2019. Activities in both projects will therefore be extended to other regions as well. Doing so will allow access to the seminars for a far larger target group. Moreover, there are plans to increase the number of participants in the penitentiary system project in response to the extremely positive echo so far. An extension of the project until the end of 2020 is also included. Moreover, an IT education centre should be set up in a pilot penitentiary in cooperation with the Directorate General for the Correctional Service and Resocialisation in Morocco (DGAPR). Cooperation with the Ministry of Justice, the Public Prosecutor‘s Office and the Moroccan Institute of Legal and Forensic Medicine will be intensified as part of the forensic medicine project. A new law is scheduled to enter into force in Morocco at the start of 2019, which will regulate the tasks and duties of forensic doctors, as well as their licensing requirements. Several roundtable discussions on these issues with all the relevant stakeholders are planned in this regard. The extremely successful seminars on the topic of “Cooperation between the judiciary, police force and forensic medicine“ will be continued and broadened in 2019.