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II. Human Rights Watch Recommendations

To Moroccan Authorities

  • Ensure the implementation of reforms, recommended by the ERC or otherwise, that contribute to ending impunity for grave human rights abuses past and present, that fulfill the rights of victims, and that safeguard against a repetition of grave abuses of the past.
  • Direct a high-level public office to monitor and evaluate, in a public and ongoing fashion, the state’s implementation of the recommendations made by the ERC; or create a new body with this responsibility.
  • Commit to providing a public response to each of the ERC’s recommendations, specifying a plan and timetable for compliance, or an explanation why the government does not intend to comply.
  • Bring to justice those individuals identified by the ERC as having committed grave human rights violations, where sufficient evidence exists to bring them to trial, and ensure that they are provided with a fair trial where their rights are protected. The king, who is both the recipient of the ERC’s complete report and head of Morocco’s Supreme Council of the Magistrature, has a special responsibility in this regard.  He should ensure that all evidentiary material collected by the ERC is turned over to judicial authorities, in contemplation of bringing charges where the evidence warrants.
  • Refrain from declaring any amnesty or similar measures that would exempt from prosecution persons implicated in carrying out “disappearances” or other grave violations of human rights; any eventual measures of clemency should come after individual responsibilities have been established, not before.
  • Consider extrajudicial sanctions, such as dismissals from posts, for public officials against whom solid evidence exists of participation in grave abuses, where the post they occupy enables them to continue to violate the human rights of others.  Such actions should be carried out in a fair manner that guarantees the due process rights of the accused, and without prejudice to their eventual prosecution in a court of law.
  • Examine the issue of statutes of limitations under Moroccan law, favoring an approach that does not double-penalize the victims.  Authorities could, for example, advocate holding that the period during which victims did not have an effective remedy under domestic law does not count toward prescription.
  • Declare that any case of “disappearance” that the ERC has not fully clarified shall continue to be the subject of investigation until the fate of the victim is established. 
  • If there are victims of grave human rights violations whose applications are rejected by the ERC on the grounds that the types of violations they suffered fell outside its mandate, ensure that these victims receive the same consideration, in terms of reparation, as those whose cases were accepted by the ERC.
  • Publicly remind victims and their beneficiaries of their continuing right to obtain redress from courts, which has not been compromised by the existence of the ERC or by their acceptance of reparations from the ERC.
  • Ensure a legal and administrative framework that preserves, and ensures easy public access to, the archival material generated by the ERC, except that which should legitimately remain classified.
  • Acknowledge that grave human rights abuses in the period under study by the ERC were systematic and ordered at the highest levels of the state, and offer official statements of regret to the victims and their families.
  • Strengthen Morocco’s commitment to international treaties by continuing to implement the pledge made by Prime Minister Driss Jettou to withdraw Morocco’s reservations to those treaties.  It should lift its reservation to Article 14 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), recognize the competence of the Committee against Torture under Article 20 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), and join the optional protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).  Morocco should also withdraw its substantial reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), a step that the prime minister said would be studied.  It should also ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which Morocco signed in 2000.

To the Equity and Reconciliation Commission

  • Disclose publicly the extent to which the ERC received the necessary cooperation of past and present officials in its investigations, cooperation being measured in terms of the provision of oral testimony, documents (including medical-legal records and existing court files), and other items of evidence; and disclose the impact of any non-cooperation on the commission’s task of providing a full and truthful account of the period under its consideration.
  • Alert the appropriate public authorities if it encounters any evidence of the destruction of, or tampering with, public records or other evidentiary materials, and ensure that evidence of such activity is made public at an appropriate time.
  • Publicly reaffirm the need for criminal accountability for grave abuses, even if the commission itself is prevented from naming individual perpetrators.
  • Support the submission to Morocco’s judiciary of all evidence collected by the ERC that might contribute to bringing to justice perpetrators of grave abuses of the past, or that might help victims or their beneficiaries to obtain justice in the courts for past abuses.
  • Make public, to the fullest extent possible, the testimonies and information collected by the ERC from former and current agents of the state.
  • Urge that any “disappearances” not successfully elucidated by the commission remain the subject of ongoing investigation until the fate of the missing person is fully clarified, and that no amnesty or statute of limitations apply to those implicated in “disappearances” or other grievous human rights abuses.
  • In recommending measures to prevent the recurrence of grave abuses and to strengthen the rule of law, stress the importance of reforming Morocco’s justice system, so that judges reliably conduct independent and thorough inquiries, bring charges when warranted, and render decisions that are just, whether in cases involving recent offenses or concerning abuses of the past, and whether the defendants are ordinary citizens or state agents.
  • In light of the contested nature of events in the Western Sahara, the tighter security conditions in that region, and the large number of cases emanating from there, ensure that in the Commission’s final report, reparation policies, and recommendations, the human rights violations and the victims in this region receive consideration that is equal to that accorded to those of other regions.

<<previous  |  index  |  next>>November 2005