The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
Challenges: Morocco has continued to demonstrate commitment to a gradual but steady path of democratic reform since the adoption of a new constitution in 2011. As a result of the new Constitution, the Moroccan Government approved a comprehensive Judicial Reform Charter in 2013, which calls for the creation of a judiciary independent of the Ministry of Justice. Those reforms are currently being enacted. The government continues to exhibit the will to institute improvements to its corrections, law enforcement, and judicial systems. A free trade partner with the United States, a major non-NATO ally, and a strong ally against terrorism, Morocco continues to dedicate resources to countering terrorism and violent extremism. The country also ranks well among states of a similar socioeconomic status in its ability to protect its citizens against crime. Despite improvements, however, Morocco still faces substantial challenges within its criminal justice sector. The country struggles to deliver justice to its citizens effectively and without improper influence. Morocco has also been working to professionalize and modernize both their national police and penitentiary administration with the full support of King Mohammed VI.
Goals: INL supports Morocco’s efforts to professionalize and modernize the delivery of criminal justice services by implementing programming in Morocco’s law enforcement, corrections, and judicial sectors. INL’s objective is to ensure Moroccan criminal justice sector institutions (police precincts, correctional institutions, courts, and other judicial institutions) grow increasingly equitable. Equitable means institutions that carry out their functions without improper influence and in accordance with the nation’s laws.
Accomplishments: Since 2010, INL has worked with the Moroccan Prison Administration, the General Delegation of the Penitentiaries and Reinsertion Administration (DGAPR), to train over 300 Moroccan prison wardens and staff in the United States on prison management concepts. Putting INL trainings into practice, DGAPR has made significant improvements to its prison system, including the institution of a formal, enhanced intake procedure, and basic classification process.
With INL support from 2012 – 2014, Morocco developed and implemented its first standardized procedures for crime scene management and evidence storage and handling, to ensure that the integrity of evidence is preserved so the evidence is subsequently admissible in court. Building on this success, in 2015-2016 INL equipped 19 newly created evidence preservation rooms nationwide in order to support implementation of the new chain of custody procedures for evidence collected at crime scenes. The shift away from confession-based and increased focus on evidenced-based prosecutions is a significant step forward in Morocco’s efforts to undergird and strengthen rule of law.
Since 2011, INL has worked with the Moroccan police to establish a School Resource Officer (SRO) program as part of a broader effort to strengthen relations between the community and the police. Through this program INL supported Moroccan SROs in their development of a training curriculum and forty Moroccan police officers have been certified as SRO trainers. In addition to supporting community-police relations in general, in some areas local police and school officials have noted to INL that the community outreach done via the SRO program was one of their best tools to help address the issue of extremism and recruitment among youth.
Since 2012, INL has supported the American Bar Association (ABA) to increase citizen access to information about the criminal justice system in Morocco. After a successful two-year program in Marrakech, INL and ABA expanded this project to Tangiers and the surrounding region in September 2016.Utilizing a variety of public awareness tools and activities, ABA and its Moroccan partners are educating citizens through theater performances, caravans, radio and television interviews, legal consultations, and activities in schools.