Casablanca - The way in which Morocco has handled the Gdim Izik incident draws international attention to the leap it has made in respecting in its international commitments relating to the respect of human rights.
Casablanca – The way in which Morocco has handled the Gdim Izik incident draws international attention to the leap it has made in respecting in its international commitments relating to the respect of human rights.
The incidents of Gdim Izik date back to October and November 2010, during the dismantling of the camp that resulted in deaths, injuries and destruction. 11 law enforcement officers, including an officer of Civil Protection, died and their dead bodies were desecrated. 70 other individuals were injured, mostly law enforcement officers and 4 civilians. Also, private and public property suffered enormous material damage.
The incidents were criminal in nature, and the Moroccan government has dealt with them accordingly away from any politicization.
The Military Court of Rabat prosecuted 24 individuals involved in this case. On February 17, 2013 the court sentenced them to penalties ranging from perpetuity, to 30, 25 and 20 years in prison for “constitution of a criminal gang” and “violence against the forces of law and order leading to death with premeditation and complicity.”
The Court of Cassation subsequently canceled the verdict pronounced against the accused in July 2016 and ordered that the case be referred to the Court of Appeals. The Criminal Chamber of the annex of Salé’s Appeals Court then decided to postpone the examination of the case until January 23 of the current year.
In its attempt to give the accused in the case of Gdim Izig a transparent trial, the trials were ordered to take place before an ordinary court to make the truth known to the public and condemn those found guilty.
In this regard, the referral of the case to an ordinary court shuts down the allegations, promoted by the Polisario activists, that Morocco is politicizing the trial. The case strictly follows the procedures pertaining to the incidents to ensure the rights of the defendants are protected and the separation of powers is guaranteed.
Several European lawyers, including the Brussels lawyers, André Martin Karongoz and Sofie Michez, who attended the trial that began on December 26 beside the human rights associations and NGOs, testified that Morocco has shown a genuine cooperation effort in giving the parties proper procedure in spite of the seriousness of the matter. Also, all observers noted that the judges had clear intentions of respecting the fundamental principles that characterize a fair trial.
The trial provided to the individuals involved in the case of Gdim Izig fully respects their right to proper procedure and a fair trial. The defendants had full opportunity to freely express themselves, their lawyers attended the trial, and the lawyers have had full access to the files.
This is ensured in the framework of Article 6 of the European convention vis-à-vis the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms relating to a fair trial, which is a process that provides guarantees that are found in all ordinary courts.
Morocco has taken a new road towards human rights since 1999. The contributions of Moroccan legislations are exemplary. In particular, the 2011 Constitution guarantees the fundamental rights of defendants, including the right to appeal and the right to defense.
Thanks to the efforts exerted in recent years by the Moroccan government under the impulsion of King Mohammed VI, Morocco has made the irreversible choice to establish a state that respects universally recognized human rights. By doing so it has demonstrated that its good will leaves no room for doubts.