Gdim Izik Trial, ‘Fair and Impartial’- International Observers Say

Gdim Izik Trial, ‘Fair and Impartial’- International Observers Say

The verdict handed by the appeal’s court in Salé against the 23 individuals accused of the killing of 11 members of Morocco’s security forces in the Gdim Izik events is “fair and impartial,” said the international observers who attended the hearings and proceedings.

The Court has respected the principle of individualization of sentences by delivering verdicts ranging from two years to life sentence, said the lawyers at a press conference in Rabat.

The press conference was held after the appeal court’s sentencing that handed jail terms ranging from two-years in prison to life sentence to the individuals involved in the killing of authority agents in the incidents that erupted during the dismantling of the Gdim Izik camp near Laayoune in November 2010.

In this respect, French lawyer Pierre Legros lauded the Court’s impartiality saying that the judges examined meticulously the charges against each defendant without being influenced by the pressures of the defense.

Legros, who highlighted the pertinence of the re-trial of the Gdim Izik defendants before a civilian court, noted that foreign observers who had followed the trial closely for seven months are satisfied with the “fairness” of the verdict, which was taken in line with the guarantees provided for in the international Law.

For his part, French lawyer Hubert Seillan said that the court’s decision was “impartial” and that the charges against the accused were thoroughly examined.

“We were with observers from several countries and we were all convinced that this trial was conducted in the best conditions, which resulted in fair sentences,” said Belgian-Rwandan lawyer André Martin Karongozi.

For his part, Danish lawyer Laue Smidt described the trial as “professional”, noting that all conditions were met so that the accused and their defense perform their duties in the best way possible.

In the same vein, President of the “Coordination of families and friends of victims of the events of Gdim Izik”, Ahmed Atertor, said that the sentences were “fair,” welcoming the court’s decision not to hand any death penalty “in spite of the fact that the crimes committed were punishable by the death sentence”.

The Coordination of the families also added that the “trial has complied with all the guarantees provided for by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Moroccan Constitution and the Code of criminal procedures.”

On the other hand, the Coordination noted that the court has presented the evidence, including testimonies, documents, videos and photos, which testify without a doubt to the crimes committed and to their perpetrators.

According to the Coordination, the court showed “great patience and a spirit of openness that enabled it to look at the circumstances of the death of 11 victims of our sons who were in the ranks of the Emergency services, the royal Gendarmerie and the auxiliary Forces”. The victims “were only carrying out their professional and humanitarian duties without committing any act of violence,” and they “did not even react to the unprecedented violence perpetrated against them,” the coordination said.

In 2013 a military court sentenced the defendants to jail terms ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment. Despite the fact that this trial respected international rules and regulations, Moroccan authorities decided to cancel the military tribunal sentences and referred the case to a civilian court following a recommendation made by the Moroccan national council of human rights. In July 2016, the Court of Cassation ordered a civilian court to re-examine the case.


Share This