ICCT and Asser Instituut Organise Counter-Terrorism Workshop in Morocco

On 25 September, the T.M.C. Asser Instituut and ICCT in conjunction with the Club of Magistrates of Morocco convened a workshop on counter-terrorism legislation in Rabat, Morocco. The workshop was conducted alongside the MATRA South “Administration of Justice” trainings organised by the Asser Institute. Over 20 participants from the Moroccan justice sector participated in the event. The Asser Instituut, ICCT and the Club of Magistrates plan to continue their cooperation in the future to comprehensively address rule of law-related issues in an effective criminal justice sector response to terrorism.

The T.M.C. Asser Instituut is implementing the MATRA South Programme for Arab Countries – Supporting democratic transition in the Arab region on behalf of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the period 2012-2014. This programme aims to stimulate and support the democratic transition in the Arab region and to strengthen relations between the Netherlands and the target countries by sharing the necessary knowledge and skills with policy advisors, members of the judiciary and other civil servants in order for them to lead and inspire the modernisation of the judicial systems in their home countries building from the Dutch experience. Following the first MATRA South trainings for participants from Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and Jordan in the Netherlands, a follow-up workshop was delivered in late September in Morocco. The participants from Morocco requested the inclusion of a counter-terrorism session in the programme, which would address issues that are additional, but thematically related to the MATRA South training programme.

This half-day counter-terrorism workshop, organised by Asser and ICCT, addressed policy, legal and organisational issues relevant to the prevention and prosecution of terrorism cases in Morocco. Specifically, it focussed on new methods of  using of evidence, terrorist financing, coordination of counter-terrorism related mechanisms, and the rights of the defence as well as victims. ICCT Director Peter Knoope and Research Fellow Claudio Matera coordinated the workshop. Peter Knoope noted that “this is a unique opportunity to continue the well-established corporation with Moroccan authorities in such an important segment of administering criminal justice: terrorism cases. The event provided a platform to discuss and identify the issues and needs of Moroccan participants in the criminal justice sector”.

This workshop was designed to discuss the main challenges that operators within the Moroccan legal system face whenever investigating, trying and defending individuals and organisations linked to terrorist cases. Moreover, the workshop was designed also with a view to gain input for an ensuing 4-day training programme, to take place in Rabat in the coming months. It is intended that 4-day training programme would build on the issues identified during the event of 25 September, and combine local knowledge with international expertise to identify gaps in current legislation and practices, and draw conclusions for supporting and enhancing the Moroccan judicial and security system in the participants’ respective areas of work.