Morocco: flawed draft laws on High Judicial Council and Statute for Judges must be revised
The ICJ today called on the Moroccan authorities to amend the draft laws on the High Judicial Council, the Conseil supérieur du pouvoir judiciaire (CSPJ), and on the Statute for Judges, to ensure their full compliance with international law and standards on judicial independence.
The ICJ called on the authorities to ensure that: the CSPJ is institutionally and organizationally independent; is exclusively competent to manage the career of judges, including the selection of trainee judges; is involved in determining the budget for the judiciary; and is empowered to administer the allocation of judicial resources.
This statement comes following the conclusion of a high-level mission to Morocco from 12 to 18 June 2015 to engage with members of the executive, legislative and judicial branches, as well as representatives of civil society, on the judicial reforms initiated by the Moroccan authorities.
“The Draft Law on the CSPJ should enhance and expand the guarantees of judicial independence provided for by the 2011 Constitution, including by ensuring that the General Inspection Service (GIS) is under the authority of the CSPJ, that the organic law on the CSPJ sets out the GIS composition, competencies, and areas of intervention, and that the CSPJ oversees all issues pertaining to judicial administration,” said Philippe Texier, ICJ Commissioner and a former judge of the French Cassation Court (photo).
During this mission, the ICJ submitted to the authorities two memos analyzing the draft laws in light of international law and standards and formulating recommendations for amendments and reform.
In particular, the ICJ called for the majority of the members of the CSPJ to be judges who are chosen by their peers, for the selection and appointment of the President and the General Prosecutor of the Cassation Court to be based on objective criteria and made through transparent procedures, and for the grounds and procedure for dismissal of members of the CSPJ to be prescribed by the Law.
The ICJ is also deeply concerned that the draft law on the Statute for Judges does not contain any provisions on the criteria and procedure for selecting trainee judges.
Under the current framework, the process of selecting trainee judges is under the effective control of the Ministry of Justice.
Furthermore, while the Draft Laws entrusts the CSPJ to draft a Code of Judicial Conduct, they do not specify that, once adopted, the Code should be the basis on which judges will be held to account professionally, the Geneva-based organization says.
“The Draft Law should be amended to set out fair and transparent procedures for selecting trainee judges, to ensure that the CSPJ is fully competent to oversee the entire selection process, and to provide for the code of ethics and judicial conduct to be established in the law as the basis on which judges will be held to account professionally, including by clearly and precisely defining disciplinary offences,” said Said Benarbia, ICJ Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme.
Theo Boutruche, Legal Adviser of the ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme, t: +96 170 888 961, e: theo.boutruche(a)icj.org
The ICJ delegation was led by Mr. Philippe Texier, former judge of the French Cassation Court and ICJ Commissioner.
The delegation met with Mr. Driss Dahak, Secretary General of the Government; Mr. Abdelilah Lahkim Bennani, Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice; Mr. Mustapha Farès, First President of the Cassation Court; Mr. Mohamed Meddah, Prosecutor General of the Cassation Court; Mr. Mohamed Cheikh Biadillah, President of the Chamber of Counsellors; Mr. Omar Adkhil, President of the Commission of Justice, Legislation and Human Rights of the Chamber of Counsellors; Mr. Mohamed Zerdali, President of the Commission of Justice, Legislation and Human Rights of the Chamber of Deputies; Mr. Abdellatif Chentof, President of the Judges Club; Mr. Mohamed Khadraoui, vice-President of the Amicale Hassania; and Mr. Mohamed Akdim, President of the Bar Associations of Morocco (ABAM).
Morocco-Draft Law CSPJ-News-press releases-2015-ARA (full text of statement, in PDF, Arabic)
Morocco-Memo on the CSPJ-Advocacy-Briefing paper-2015-ENG (full text of memo 1 in PDF)
Morocco-Memo on the CSPJ-Advocacy-Briefing paper-2015-ARA (full text of memo 1 in PDF, Arabic)
Morocco-Memo on Statute for Judges-Advocacy-Briefing paper-2015-ENG (full text of memo 2 in PDF)
Morocco-Memo on Statute for Judges-Advocacy-Briefing paper-2015-ARA (full text of memo 2 in PDF, Arabic)NewsPress releases