Casablanca - Numerous international human rights organizations have expressed their support for the families of the victims of Gdim Izik incidents, lauded Morocco’s handling of the case and condemned attempts to politicize it.
Casablanca – Numerous international human rights organizations have expressed their support for the families of the victims of Gdim Izik incidents, lauded Morocco’s handling of the case and condemned attempts to politicize it.
The Gdim Izik case saw its first day in civil court on January 23, in the Criminal Chamber of the annex of Salé’s Appeals Court. Present for the hearing were representatives for international lawyers, human rights associations and NGOs.
The tragedy of Gdim Izik dates back to October and November 2010, during the dismantling of the camp near the southern city of Laayoune. The result was death, injury and destruction. 11 law enforcement officers, including an officer of Civil Protection, were killed and their dead bodies were desecrated. 70 other individuals were injured, mostly law enforcement officers, but also 4 civilians. Private and public property suffered extensive material damage.
The Military Court of Rabat prosecuted 24 individuals involved in this case, as it enjoyed the legal right to prosecute them at the time. Then, on February 17, 2013, the court sentenced them to penalties ranging from perpetuity, to 30, 25 and 20 years in prison for the “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 vacated the verdict 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 this year.
Numerous international organizations have issued statements and letters expressing their support for the families of the victims, welcoming their initiatives to unite under the umbrella of an association and calling for justice to be served for the victims.
The organizations include the Moroccan cultural center of Normandy in France, the Cercle Eugene Delacroix association, The Network of French-Moroccan Competencies, the French Moroccan Association (AFM) of Joué-lès-Tours, Moroccans In Ireland, the Fuenlabrada Islamic Cultural Center in Spain and the Association of Rights and Duties (ASBL) in Belgium.
These associations have each said, referring to the Polisario activists, that parties have actively been politicizing the case despite the enormous efforts undertaken by the Moroccan justice system to deal with the case as a purely criminal one. The associations stated their utter rejection of this political exploitation and praised Morocco’s remarkable leaps in the area of human rights and its commitment to abide by international laws and conventions.