In a move that drew wide praise from human rights advocates in morocco and abroad, the Moroccan Council of Ministers chaired King Mohammed VI ?approved?Friday?a law putting an end to trial of civilians in military courts, ??”Civilians, regardless of who they are or the nature of the?offensethey committed in times of peace, can in no circumstances be referred to military courts or tried by them,” states the draft law. ?This new law will be submitted to the parliament for a final vote before becoming a law.
Morocco’s official National Human Rights Council (CNDH) welcomed the new law, especially that the this human rights entity made a recommendation in March 2013 to end military trial of civilians. ?CNDH President Driss Yazami?considered?the new bill as “a major step towards strengthening the rule of law, reforming the judiciary and protecting human rights”.
The new law also excludes minors from military tribunals and establishes a military court of appeal, while aiming to reinforce the independence of military judges and align the procedures of military tribunals with those of civilian courts.
The Moroccan government Spokesperson Mostafa El Khalfi stated that ?the new law was designed to implement the judicial provisions of the new constitution introduced in 2011, by “strengthening the foundations of an independent and?specialized?judiciary which guarantees rights and freedoms”.
? Moroccan non-governmental organizations dedicated to promoting human rights expressed their pleasure over the King’s decision. ?These NGOs were instrumental in bringing cases ?to the attention of the government and maintaining pressure on it to abide by the court?s findings against its use of military jurisdiction.
According to this text , which has yet to be voted in Parliament, ” civilians, regardless of their quality and the nature of their offense committed by them in peacetime, can in no way be referred to military courts. “
This new bill ?” aims to harmonize national legislation on military justice with the provisions of the Constitution ( 2011 , adopted during the Arab Spring ) and international principles and standards ,” said ?the Spokesperson the Royal Palace , Abdelhak Lamrini
Approval ” is a major step towards the consolidation of ?Rule of law , reform of the justice and the protection of human rights.” told AFP the president of the National Council of human Rights (CNDH) , Driss el Yazami . ?He added that ??The project developed responds precisely to the recommendations made a year ago by CNDH. ? Proposals that were immediately approved by the King.
??? This project, which was developed in accordance with the royal high orientations, aims to standardize national legislation on military justice with the provisions of the Constitution and international principles this field, put into practice Morocco’s constitutional and international commitments in terms of promoting? the rule of law and human rights, and provide the necessary conditions and guarantees of a fair trial in all the courts of the Kingdom.
This project also introduces major changes to the status of military justice from a Special Court to being one of the specialized judicial institutions that guarantee rights and freedoms, as regards to competence, organization, procedures, and the composition of the Court.
???In this context, the project provides for excluding civilians from the jurisdiction of the military court regardless of the crimes they might have committed. This places Morocco among the most developed democratic countries in this field.
The bill also excludes the military from the jurisdiction of the military court in the event of common crimes.
Since his ascension to the throne in 1999, King Mohammed has pledged to initiate a steady process of reform. ? ? ?Equity and Reconciliation Commission to compensate victims of years of lead and enable Moroccans to reconcile with their human rights past, the family law that was passed in 2004 to expand women’s rights are concrete examples of the ongoing reform process that King Mohammed is leading.