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Morocco’s justice independence under scrutiny

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Moroccan authorities categorically rejected Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) “biased” publication of a document, in which the US-based organization attempts to mislead public opinion into believing that the country’s judicial system is not independent.

In a statement on Wednesday, 30 September 2020, the authorities indicated that the judiciary is independent under the Constitution. Further, the implementation of guarantees of the independence of magistrates falls under the prerogatives of the Superior Council of the Judicial Power, a special constitutional institution which is independent from the executive and legislative powers.

The institution had published, on 15 September 2020, a press release defending the independence and inviolability of the judiciary. This was in response to certain international NGOs which, instead of contributing to the consolidation of such independence, are calling for pressure to discredit it.

Moroccan justice, state authorities insist, is solely responsible for the case of the person in question, who is sued for his alleged involvement in acts criminalized by the Moroccan penal code. These are acts subject to legal measures and procedures that meet the conditions for a fair trial.

This lawsuit is in no way linked to the exercise by the person concerned of his function as a journalist, whether it be his articles or investigations, that only the Moroccan Press and Publishing Code is empowered to govern, while knowing that the quality of journalist does not exempt it from legal proceedings, if it turns out that the alleged acts against the respondent constitute material and moral legal elements of a crime, which falls within the framework of public law, the press release explained.

Public authorities have categorically rejected attempts by HRW to assume roles unrelated to the defense of human rights, as repeated in its latest publication. The publication attempted to cast doubt over judgments, to exploit, in bad faith, the confidentiality of judicial research and investigations, and to influence the normal course of a legal case whose investigation is in its early stages.

HRW, the statement went on, attempted to present an image contrary to the ins and outs, and deceptively interpreted legal and judicial texts and procedures without providing tangible legal or material evidence on the non-veracity of the criminal acts subject to the aforementioned case. That is an action that only justice is empowered to take in all legal systems.

The authorities are astonished, the same source claimed, at HRW’s denial of the right to freedom of expression and opinion to part of the national media for the sole reason of having published articles, which are not necessarily in harmony with the conclusions of the organization and the orientations of its support.

In addition, the organization adopted single-party versions, as is the case regarding the suspected rape and indecent assault, since the organization violated the right of the person concerned to judicial protection.



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