Rabat – L’Association de Promotion des Libertés Fondamentales (APLF), an NGO comprising lawyers and law experts, has sanctioned the Gdim Izik trial, in which 24 pro-Polisario members were accused of murder and violence against Moroccan security elements in October 2010.
Eleven Moroccan security officers were slaughtered at the time in cold blood during the dismantling of the Gdim Izik camp on the outskirts of Laayoune.
“The defendants were prosecuted for ‘the organization of a criminal gang and violence against law enforcement forces which engendered premeditated murder, mutilation of corpses and complicity,’ which was a violation of articles 293, 294, 267 (paragraph 5), 129 and 130 of the penal code.”
Earlier this month APLF issued a report about the trial of the 24 accused in the civilian court of Salé, which ran from December 26, 2016 in to July 18, 2017, concluding that the conditions were fair.
Throughout the trial, explained the NGO, the defendants were “clearly informed” of the causes of their “accusation” of serious crimes of intentional violence which caused deaths, injuries, and serious material damage.
“The trial sought to establish facts about the responsibility of each of the defendants,” said the APLF. In order to guarantee a fair trial, the General Prosecution, witnesses from among surviving victims, and members of the families of the victims and the defense of the accused all were able to speak during the trial.
“The absence of victims or their representatives will in fact not satisfy the exigency of a fair trial,” said the French NGO, pointing to the right of the families to speak in a trial that seeks establish the responsibility of those accused for the killing of their relatives.
The report criticized the strategy of the defense, which questioned the competence of the court trying to shift attention from the crimes for which the accused were prosecuted and instead focus on the political issue of Western Sahara.
APLF said that the French lawyers who were members of the defense team of the accused “chose to stand on a political ground” and make of the status of Western Sahara “their main focus.”
The lawyers asked for the trial to be held in Laayoune and that the international humanitarian law be applied in that case even though it was a “criminal case” in which “the Moroccan law was applicable.”
On July 19, the Salé criminal court issued sentences ranging from two years to life imprisonment against the 24 individuals accused of the murder of 11 members.
Abdessamad El Idrissi, one of the lawyers representing the families of the victims, told Morocco World News at the time that “the sentences match up the crimes that were committed. They were atrocious crimes.”