Rabat - King Mohammed VI has installed the new Constitutional Court. Said Ihrai, former president of the National Commission for Data Protection Supervision (CNCPD), was appointed as its head on Tuesday, April 4.
Rabat – King Mohammed VI has installed the new Constitutional Court. Said Ihrai, former president of the National Commission for Data Protection Supervision (CNCPD), was appointed as its head on Tuesday, April 4.
Created by the Constitution of 2011, the Court replaces the Constitutional Council. It inherits all of its prerogatives and adjudges new ones, with expanded powers as might be brought before a court of law. This represents a change in the kingdom of Morocco.
“This is a decisive step and the Constitution of 2011 has brought a lot of novelties, such as enabling Morocco to align itself with international parameters and standards in the areas of freedoms and privacy,” stated the newly appointed President of the Court, Said Ihrai.
In charge of ensuring the effective primacy of the Moroccan Constitution, the Constitutional Court is endowed with “broad and advanced” prerogatives. In addition to reviewing the constitutionality of laws and the transparency of elections and referendums, as well as the rule on exceptions of unconstitutionality raised during trials, the Court may now also rule on the conformity of international conventions with the Constitution.
The decisions of the Constitutional Court are, however, not subject to any kind of appeal. This is because they are first and foremost governed by the Constitution, which is the highest document of authority in the country. It defines, in particular, the bases of its organization, its essential functions and the effect of its decisions. Apart from this are the organic laws that determine the rules affecting various aspects of its organization and functioning. The court also has a say in the rules of procedure for both Houses of Parliament.
It is also mandated to deal with an objection of unconstitutionality, as specified in Article 133 of the Constitution. It is a useful tool, introduced in the name of protecting the rights and freedoms of citizens. Clearly, it may be referred to one of the parties where the latter considers that the law on which the outcome of the trial depends on the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.
The constitutional reform of 2011, the first in the reign of King Mohammed VI, strengthened the powers of the Prime Minister and Parliament, while preserving the political and religious pre-eminence of the Monarch.
Structures and Regulations
According to Article 130 of the Constitution, the Constitutional Court is composed of 12 members, appointed for a non-renewable term of nine years. Six members are appointed by the King, one of whom is proposed by the Secretary General of the Supreme Council of the Ulemas. Six are elected, half by the House of Representatives (lower house) and half by the Chamber of Councilors (upper house). Each category of members is renewable by one third every three years.
The members’ new status requires them to suspend the profession they held prior to their appointment. Indeed, the organic law provides for incompatibilities with the status of member of the Constitutional Court.
Parliamentarians elected to the Court will have to leave their seats in the Chamber. These include Mohamed Ben Abdessadak, Moulay Abdelaziz Hafidi Alaoui and Mohamed Lamrini, who will sit on the Court as members elected by the House of Representatives. The same goes for the elected members of the House of Councilors, Mohamed Al Ansari, Nadir Moumni and Mohamed Jaouhari.
With the other six members, these elected representatives are bound by the reserve obligation. Section 8 prohibits them from running a political party, trade union or professional association.
In Morocco, the institution of constitutional justice is an ancient fact, which occurred at the dawn of independence. It is within the framework of the first Constitution, promulgated in December 1962, that the Supreme Court was created in the highest court of the country and the Constitutional Court was put in charge of the control of the constitutionality of laws.
King Mohammed VI inaugurated the new seat of the Constitutional Council in June 2014. It was elevated, in accordance with constitutional provisions, to the rank of a Constitutional Court in its own right.