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.


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.