Morocco World News
Morocco World News
Rabat, May 22, 2012
Under the framework of the 5th Parliamentary Working Group on the Universality of the International Criminal Court in the Middle East and North Africa, Ambassador Tiina Intelmann, President of the Assembly of States Parties to the International Criminal Court (ICC) along with ICC officials, was on official visit to Morocco on May 16-18, 2012.
The official visit consisted of high level meetings with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Saad-Eddine Al-Othmani, Minister Habib Choubani, Minister of Civil Society and Relations with Parliament and other decision-makers. Leila Hanafi, Young Moroccan-American attorney an focal point for the Middle East and North Africa International Criminal Court coalition work, coordinated President Intelmann’s visit with key Moroccan stakeholders.
President Intelmann commended Morocco for making clear its commitment to the primacy of law and good governance. She went on to note that “recent amendments to the constitution and penal code underline Morocco’s dedication to the fight against impunity.”
Moroccan civil society leaders agreed that government action alone is generally not enough to end impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern. Complementary and mutually supportive actions by the media and civil society actors were recognized as important. It was also agreed that, in light of Morocco’s upcoming Periodic Review at the United Nations Human Rights Council in May 2012, it would be key to strengthen civil society’s role for reporting on Morocco’s obligations under international human rights law conventions to the Human Rights Council.
In her capacity as the Middle East and North Africa representative, Ms. Hanafi spoke at the Moroccan Parliament and led a series of consultations with Moroccan Ministers and Heads of Parliament in Morocco’s capital, Rabat. The consultative meetings she conducted with Minister Mustafa Ramid, Minister of Justice and Liberties, Minister Habib Choubani, Minister of Civil Society and Relations with Parliament, among others presented a valuable opportunity to discuss the contribution of the Rome Statute as a new framework where impunity is no longer an acceptable option.
The Court needs wider support of governments, civil society, and the public in order to achieve the critical mandate entrusted to it. During her remarks at the Moroccan Parliament on May 18, the MENA focal point Leila Hanafi highlighted that “the existing legal framework should be examined to ensure that national legislation conforms with the provisions of the Rome Statute.”
At a time when the ICC is expanding its important work to fight impunity, Morocco is steadily preparing the ground to join this global justice movement. This will, undoubtedly, help Morocco gain a stronger voice within the world of global justice, and participate in making the ICC a truly effective international mechanism for justice and for peace. The ICC is based on the principle of equality of all individuals and all nations before the law, and Morocco’s decision to join the ICC would be an important step toward that goal.
It has been twelve years since Morocco became a signatory to the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court, the world’s first permanent international court to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. During this time, Morocco has continued to move forward in its commitment to upholding the rule of law and universal human rights, but to date it has not completed procedures necessary to become a state party to the Court.
Delegations from states in the MENA region were significant actors in the Court’s founding. They offered important support at the 1998 Rome Conference by backing a fair, effective and independent ICC, to ensure that when the conditions for jurisdiction are met, the ICC judges and prosecutors are independent of political control. Jordan in particular—which ratified the Rome Statute in 2002—has played a leading role in establishing the Court through its presidency of the Assembly of States Parties, the ICC’s governing body, from 2002 to 2005.
Reporting from Rabat by Karima Rhanem. Editing by Ahmed Azizi
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