Morocco to Set up National Crime Observatory
Morocco will set up shortly a national observatory on crime. The new body will be entrusted with sketching out policies, producing crime-related data and international reports on this subject-matter, says Moroccan minister of Justice Mohamed Aujjar.
The observatory will help to shed light on the country’s penal policy and the system of criminal justice. It will also provide accurate and latest data on crimes’ locations, the culprits and the victims profiles, in addition to the scientific processing of crimes.
Morocco has amended its code of criminal procedure and the penal code as part of the country’s endeavor to reform the justice system with a view to protect human rights.
The main goals of the reforms of the judiciary are to strengthen the judiciary’s independence as well as harmonizing national laws with the Constitution and the international human rights treaties signed by the North African Kingdom.
The new Moroccan Constitution, adopted in 2011, clearly establishes a separation of powers that ensures in particular, the independence of the judiciary.
In conformity with the Constitution provisions, Morocco has transferred the office of the public prosecution from the Ministry of Justice, part of the executive branch, to the Court of Cassation, part of the judicial branch.
The move was supported by judges, rights activists and academics. They said that giving the public prosecution independence from the Ministry of Justice was a necessary step toward total judicial independence that would pave the way to begin thinking about legal and institutional mechanisms to ensure accountability and oversight for the prosecution.
Morocco has decided to ensure the independence of the public prosecution to protect it from the political sway wielded by the Ministry of Justice, which can potentially be influenced by the political party that holds the post and the parliamentary majority that backs it.
The High Judicial Council consists of elected judges, senior judges from other bodies, as well as five independent members directly appointed by the king. The Council can and shall hold members of the public prosecution accountable for their professional mistakes, as stipulated by the Statute for Judges.
The law requires the public prosecutor to draft annual reports to be published in the official gazette, thus allowing civil society and the media to play a watchdog role.