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.


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.