Comparative law and justice/Morocco

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Moroccan Flag

Basic Information كسم المغرب[edit | edit source]

Major Cities

The capital of Morocco is Rabat. The government and key parliamentary offices are located in the capital. The largest city is its main port city of Casablanca.

Parliament Building in Rabat


Red with a green pentacle (five-pointed, linear star) known as a variety of Solomon's six-pointed seal in the center of the flag. Red and green are traditional colors in Berber flags. The current Moroccan flag was made by the French governor-general Hubert Lyautey who replaced the David star in the Moroccan flag with a pentacle in 1915 and made it official[1].

National Anthem

- Name: "Hymne Cherifien" (Hymn of the Sharif)

- Lyrics/music: Ali Squalli Housainni/Leo Morgan

- Note: music adopted 1956, lyrics adopted 1970[2]

Geographical Information

Jebel Toubkal Mountain Range

Morocco is located in Northern Africa, bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and the Western Sahara desert. Morocco's landmass totals 446,550 sq. km. which is the 57 (slightly larger than California) largest country in the world. Morocco's northern coast and interior are mountainous with large bordering plateaus, valleys and rich coastal plains. the lowest point is Sebkha Tah (-55m) and its highest point is Jebel Toubkal (4,165m)[3].



The climate in Morocco is reliably dry, although small amounts of rain do fall between November and March. Temperature varies considerably by season and locale. While the southern and southeastern desert regions can reach extremely high temperatures during the hot summer months, the higher altitudes of the mountains are cool in summer evenings and freezing in winter[4].


Morocco has several key natural resources such as iron ore, lead, zinc, phosphates, manganese, fish, and salt. Large earthquakes and periodic droughts create natural hazards due to the mountainous terrain and the Sahara Desert[5].


The population of Morocco (July 2010) is estimated at 31,627,428, 38 largest in the world. A 2010 estimate states that Morocco's population grows at an estimated 1.077% per year, good for 118 fastest in the world[6]. The male population of 15,319,926 is outweighed by the female population of 15,875,248. The migration rate to Morocco is -3.88 migrant(s) per 1,000 population[7].


There are three main languages spoken in Morocco. The first, Arabic, is the official language spoken throughout the country. The second most popular language spoken is Berber. The third language spoken is French, which is used mainly for business, government, and diplomacy. French is popular with the government because Morocco was controlled by the French from about 1904 to 1956.

Ethnicity And Religion

Morocco is made up of several ethnic groups and religions. The ethnic group which makes up the largest population is Arab or Berber (99.1%) followed by a mixture of ethnicity (0.7%) and the smallest group is the Jewish consisting of a mere 0.2% of the population[8]. As to religions, Islam has the largest following at 98.7% of the population. Christianity has a small following at 1.1%, followed by Judaism, with 0.2% of the total religious population in Morocco[9].

Brief History[edit | edit source]

Berber Descendant

Morocco's history began with the Berbers, the aboriginal people who have inhabited the country since the end of the 2nd millennium BC Rome extended its rule over the area after defeating Carthage in 146 BC, and testimony to its presence still exists in the fine Roman ruins at Volubilis. As Rome fell into decline Morocco was invaded first by the Vandals and then, in the 7th century, by the Arabs. Although external Arab rule lasted little more than a century, the arrival of Islam proved to be a permanent addition to Moroccan culture. In the ensuing centuries a series of ruling dynasties came to power, including the Idrissids, the Almoravids, and the Almohads, but none seemed capable of long maintaining the critical support of the Berber leaders[10].

By the 15th century Spain and Portugal began to intrude into Morocco, after having expelled the Moors from their own lands. Although Morocco successfully repulsed these invasions, the tide of European imperialism eventually proved too great. By the middle of the 19th century Morocco's strategic importance had become evident to all of the European powers, and they engaged in a protracted struggle for possession of the country. Finally, in 1911, France was formally acknowledged as protector of the greater part of the country, with Spain receiving a number of isolated locales. French rule came to an end in 1953, although its cultural influence on Morocco remains strongly in evidence. Today the country is ruled by King Mohammed VI. He appears to be leading Morocco toward both long-term stability and a greater degree of economic prosperity[11].

Economic Development, Health, and Education[edit | edit source]

Economic Development

Morocco's GDP is $153.8 billion (2010 est.), which is the 58 richest in the world. The GDP per capita is $4,900 (2010 est.), 147 richest in the world. Morocco's labor force is estimated to be around 11.63 million people[12].

Labor Force-By Occupation

Agriculture- 44.6% (barley, wheat, citrus fruits, grapes, vegetables, olives, livestock, wine) Industry- 19.8% (phosphate rock mining and processing, food processing, leather goods, textiles, construction, energy, tourism) Services- 35.5%

The unemployment rate in Morocco is estimated at 9.8%, 109 in the world. 15% of the population is estimated to be below the poverty line (2007 est.)[13].

Exports And Imports

Morocco has an estimated $14.49 billion in exports in 2010. Materials Morocco exports are, clothing and textiles, electric components, inorganic chemicals, transistors, crude minerals, fertilizers (including phosphates), petroleum products, citrus fruits, vegetables, fish[14]. Morocco has an estimated $34.19 billion in exports in 2010. Morocco imports much of their resources such as, crude petroleum, textile fabric, telecommunications equipment, wheat, gas and electricity, transistors, plastics[15].

Health Care


In 1956, when Morocco became independent, there were only about 300 public health physicians and 400 private practitioners in the country. Since then, the government has made health care services more widely available and improved their quality. By 1992, health care was available to 70% of the population. Health education courses at schools and colleges, and programs to teach hygiene to children and parents, have also helped raise the quality of health. The current life expectancy is 66.5 years for men and 70.6 years for women[16].

In 1982, the Ministry of Public Health was formed. Since then, smallpox has been eliminated, typhus outbreaks are less frequent, and malaria and tuberculosis have been brought under control. The World Health Organization and UNICEF also support the government’s campaigns to reduce eye disorders and sexually transmitted diseases. Employers in industry and business are required to register their workers for benefits, but many workers are still not covered. Many other programs aiming at extending medical care to needy Moroccans are under wayDuring the early eighties, there was a decline in the overall state supremacy. With the world economic crisis, the State had to face a profound financial crisis leading to the adoption of restrictions and reforms. The coming of Alma-Ata declaration offered the opportunity to focus on the prevention of disease and the development of basic health care and health programs. Since then, prevention became the state priority while hospitals were left in the shadow of health policies. The Medical Doctors showed a growing interest in the liberal medicine. The development of the private sector increased in the urban area and in the most promising regions of the country, independently from the State[17].

During the early eighties, there was a decline in the overall state supremacy. With the world economic crisis, the State had to face a profound financial crisis leading to the adoption of restrictions and reforms. The coming of Alma-Ata declaration offered the opportunity to focus on the prevention of disease and the development of basic health care and health programs. Since then, prevention became the state priority while hospitals were left in the shadow of health policies. The Medical Doctors showed a growing interest in the liberal medicine. The development of the private sector increased in the urban area and in the most promising regions of the country, independently from the State[18].

Healthcare System

The health system is organized according to a pyramidal hierarchy. Structures of primary healthcare (clinics, urban and rural health centers and local hospitals in rural districts for the public sector; medical offices and infirmaries for the private sector) represent the first resort for the patients. They provide preventive and promotional cares as well as ambulatory curative cares[19].

The second recourse corresponds to the provincial and prefectorial hospitals for the public sector and the specialized offices and clinics for private one. The third recourse includes regional hospital centers. Fourth recourse is the university hospital centers, one each in Rabat, Casablanca, Fez and Marrakech, where secondary healthcare requiring high-tech equipment and logistics is being provided[20].

The semi-public sector comprises of health care institutions managed by health insurance organization (CNOPS and CNSS) and other semi-public institutions (office chérifien of the phosphates; national office of the railways etc). They provide curative ambulatory and hospital cares[21].

Life Expectancy

Total Population- 75.69 years

Male- 72.63 years

Female- 78.9 years

Infant Morality Rate

Total- 28.61 deaths/1,000 live births

Male- 33.52 deaths/1,000 live births

Female- 23.46 deaths/1,000 live births

According to 2001 statistics, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) have become a real public health problem in Morocco, with 250,000 new cases reported per year. Women are particularly vulnerable to STIs and HIV/AIDS due to their lack of power over decisions regarding their reproductive health, such as the use of contraceptives for effective prevention and protection. While it is believed that HIV/AIDS is still relatively limited in Morocco, women are becoming as vulnerable as men. The subject of HIV/AIDS, however, is no longer taboo, and the Ministry of Health and health-specialized NGOs have organized several awareness programs. Nevertheless, the efforts of government and civil society to combat HIV/AIDS are often challenged by the activism of conservative political groups opposed to consciousness-raising and sexual education programs[22].


Referential High School in Dakhla Morocco

Education in Morocco is free and compulsory through primary school (age 15). Nevertheless, many children--particularly girls in rural areas--do not attend school, and most of those who do drop out after elementary school. The country's literacy rate reveals sharp gaps in education, both in terms of gender and location; while country-wide literacy rates are estimated at 39.6% among women and 65.7% among men, the female literacy rate in rural areas is estimated only at 10%[23].

Al-Akhawayn Campus

Morocco is home to 14 public universities. Mohammed V University in Rabat is one of the country’s most famous schools, with faculties of law, sciences, liberal arts, and medicine. Founded over 1,000 years ago, Karaouine University, in Fes, is the oldest center for Islamic studies in the Maghreb. Morocco’s most prestigious public English-language university, Al-Akhawayn, was founded in 1993 by King Hassan II and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia in Ifrane. Its curriculum is based on an American model[24].

Governance[edit | edit source]

Morocco's Constitution was adopted on September 13, 1996. The first link has the translated copy of the Constitution, while the second has the French copy: (English). (French).

Structure[edit | edit source]

Executive Branch

- Chief of State: King Mohammed VI (since 30 July 1999)

King Mohammed VI with President Bush, 2002

- Head of Government: Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi (since 19 September 2007)

- Cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch

- Elections: the monarchy is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch following legislative elections[25]

Legislative Branch

- Bicameral Parliament consists of the Chamber of Counselors (or upper house) (270 seats; members elected indirectly by local councils, professional organizations, and labor syndicates to serve nine-year term[26].

- One-third of the members are elected every three years) and Chamber of Representatives (or lower house) (325 seats; 295 members elected by multi-seat constituencies and 30 from national lists of women. Members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)[27].

- Elections: Chamber of Counselors - last held on 3 October 2009 (next to be held in 2012); Chamber of Representatives - last held on 7 September 2007 (next to be held in 2012) election results: Chamber of Counselors - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party[28].

Judicial Branch

- Supreme Court (judges are appointed on the recommendation of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, presided over by the monarch)[29].

Elections[edit | edit source]

The King is hereditary. The Prime Minister is appointed by the monarch. In the Chamber of Counselors (Majlis al-Mustacharin) 270 members are elected by indirect vote to serve 9-year terms. In the Chamber of Representatives (Majlis al-Nuwab), 295 members are elected through a closed-list proportional representation system to serve 5-year terms and 30 members are reserved for women to serve 5-year terms[30]. Members are elected indirectly by local councils, professional organizations, and labor syndicates. One-third of the members are renewed every three years. 295 members are elected in 95 multi-seat constituencies. The thirty reserved seats are from a national list of women[31].

Past Elections

- Parliamentary - September 7, 2007

- Parliamentary - September 27, 2002

Future Elections

- Parliamentary - September 2012

Courts[edit | edit source]

Minister of Justice- Mr. Mohamed Taieb Naciri

Morocco has a dual legal system consisting of secular courts based on French legal tradition, and courts based on Jewish and Islamic traditions[32]. The secular system includes communal and district courts, courts of first instance, appellate courts, and a Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is divided into five chambers: criminal, correctional (civil) appeals, social, administrative, and constitutional. The Special Court of Justice may try officials on charges raised by a two-thirds majority of the full Majlis. There is also a military court for cases involving military personnel and occasionally matters pertaining to state security. The Supreme Council of the Judiciary regulates the judiciary and is presided over by the king. Judges are appointed on the advice of the council. Judges in the secular system are university-trained lawyers. Since 1965 only Moroccans may be appointed as judges, and Arabic is the official language of the courts[33].

There are 27 Sadad courts, which are courts of first instance for Muslim and Jewish personal law. Criminal and civil cases are heard, and cases with penalties exceeding a certain monetary amount may be appealed to regional courts. The Sadad courts are divided into Shari'ah; Rabbinical; Civil, Commercial, and Administrative sections; and a criminal section[34].

The Morocco’s Constitution claims that “The judicial authority is independent from the legislative power and the executive power”. Magistrates are appointed by Dahir on the proposal of the High Council of the Magistracy[35]. Morocco has many courts that have different purposes and jurisdiction throughout the country.

Jurisdictions of the First Degree First Instance Court

They are competent for:

- All civil affairs and relevant to the personal or inheritance

- Commercial or social statute

- In a first or last instance or in appeal[36].

Trade Courts

They rule the following:

- Cases between tradesmen, involving commercial activities;

- Disputes between associates of a trade country;

- Cases related to trade effects;

- Disputes related to business

- Trade courts are competent to judge, on first and last instances, cases that do not exceed 9,000 Dirham (0.09$) in value and in the first instance all requests that exceed this value[37].

- Communal and District judges are competent to adjudicate all personal estate actions brought against individuals who reside under their jurisdiction. The value of claims must be less than 1000 Dirham (0,09 $)[38].

Jurisdictions of the Second Degree: The Courts of Appeals

They try criminal cases, appeals against judgments passed by Tribunals of Original Jurisdiction and appeals against rulings made by the latter's presiding judges[39].

The Supreme Court

- Appeals for cassation of sentences without appeal decided by anyone of the kingdom's courts.

- Appeals for cancellation of the Prime Minister's decisions.

- Jurisdiction disputes arising among courts above which there is no high court other than the Supreme Court.

- Suits for bias filed against magistrates and courts with the exception of the Supreme Court.

- Proceedings aimed at judge disqualifying because of likelihood of bias.

- Disqualifying for reasons of public security or for the sake of a good administration of justice[40].

Administrative Courts

They are competent to make initial rulings

- On claims for cancellation of acts filed against administrative authorities;

- Disputes related to administrative contracts;

- Claims for compensation of prejudice caused by public entities' acts or activities;

- To set up the consistency of administrative acts with legal provisions[41].

Other Jurisdictions

The Special Court of Justice

They are competent for cases (corruption, embezzlement, etc) in which magistrates or Government officials are involved[42].

The High Court

It is competent for offences or crimes committed by government members during the discharge of their functions. They may be indicted by the two Houses of Parliament and referred to the High Court of Justice for trial[43].

The Standing Tribunal of the Armed Forces

It is competent for cases about:

- Unauthorized carrying of firearms;

- Offenses committed by soldiers[44].

The Audit Court

The Audit Court is responsible for conducting overall supervision of the implementation of the budget. It’s ensure the sound conduct of receipt and expenditure operations and evaluate the management of agencies placed under its control by law. When necessary, The Audit Court takes action against violation of the rules governing such operations. The Audit Court provides assistance to Parliament and the government in its fields of competence[45].

Punishment[edit | edit source]

The median prison population rate for Western African countries is 37 as opposed to 267 in Southern African countries. Table 1 shows the Prison Population for the countries in Africa[46]. Morocco has a prison population of 54,542 dating back to 2004. The prison population rate is 175 per 100,000 of the national population. The death sentence in Morocco is still in existence. In the year 2010, Morocco imposed 4 death sentences. However, the authorities of Morocco have refrained from carrying out those death sentences[47]. Morocco is considered an abolitionist country, where they retain the death penalty for ordinary crimes such as murder but can be considered abolitionist in practice in that they have not executed anyone during the past 10 years and are believed to have a policy or established practice of not carrying out executions[48]. The criminal code provides for severe punishments for rape and other forms of sexual violence; however, due to the difficulties in establishing proof of rape and the taboos surrounding this issue, women tend not to report these crimes[49].


Prisoner in Ait Melloul Prison

The country of Morocco has 4 state prisons. The prisons are overcrowded with unhealthy conditions. These unhealthy conditions include, minimal hygiene, medical care is normally non-existent and disease is rife[50]. Other problems of these prisons include overcrowding.T hey say the country's prisons house anything up to 80,000 detainees in a system designed for less than half that number. What makes the overcrowding worse is that, while some prisons are half-empty, in others the only place left to sleep for some prisoners are the toilets[51]. Morocco has several prisons that house men facing terrorist charges. Two of those prisons are Zaki prison in Saleh and Oukasha prison in the port city of Casablanca.

Children's Rights

Of the 31.5 million inhabitants of Morocco, 37% are under the age of 18. The population of minors in Morocco is very large, therefore the rights for these children are very important. Since the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1993, Morocco has demonstrated keen interest in addressing problems related to the promotion and the protection of children’s rights[52].

Legal Personnel[edit | edit source]

Morocco is a constitutional, democratic and social monarchy. The King is the Supreme Representative of the Nation and the Symbol of the unity thereof. He is the guarantor of the perpetuation and the continuity of the State. As Defender of the Faith, he ensures the respect for the Constitution. He is the Protector of the rights and liberties of the citizens, social groups and organizations[53].

Law Enforcement[edit | edit source]


Morocco’s police force was established by the French colonial authorities and remains based on the French model. When Morocco’s long struggle for independence from France (and Spain) ended in 1956, however, the existing police force had virtually ceased to exist. The new government quickly created a police force by reconstituting what elements it could of the colonial police, cobbling them together with former guerilla units and using French advisors.[54]. In May a government decree created the new force: the Surete Nationale, under Interior (and later Defense) Minister Muhammad Oufkir. He built this force into a centralized, powerful, independent, and often ruthless force. During the 1960s opposition to the government grew and in 1965 the government declared a state of emergency which lasted until 1970. After riots in Casablanca in 1965, the Surete was also reorganized as an autonomous organization, directly answerable to the king.33 After coup attempts in the early 1970s, the king strengthened the paramilitary Gendarmerie to balance the army’s power. Morocco’s police today are still based on the French model. Morocco has a number of different police organizations, with overlapping responsibilities, nearly all paramilitary in structure[55].


The Moroccan police, La Direction Générale de la Sûreté Nationale is the authoritative and main State police body of Morocco. The Sûreté Nationale is tasked with upholding the law and public order. It works alongside the Gendarmerie Royale[56].

La Direction Générale de la Sûreté Nationale

- La Sûreté Nationale (National Police Force)

Flag of the Royal Moroccan Gendarmerie

- La Gendarmerie Royale (Royal Military Police Force)


The Groupes urbains de sécurité (GUS) or Urban Society Groups, is a defunct Moroccan special police unit which dealt with urban matters basing on "rapid intervention approach[57]. GUS was established by the Direction Générale de la Sûreté Nationale (DGSN) (the main National police body) in October 17, 2005. The initiative lies within the scope of a general reform whose principle was "the Police force, near to you for your safety". As of October 2006, GUS comprised between 4,000 and 5,000 agents[58]. The GUS are considered first-aid workers and all members speak English. They were attached to arrondissements. Because of its nature as an auxiliary police, GUS, for example did not have the right to confiscate driver licenses or to file official reports. GUS were equipped with Peugeot Partner vans and Honda motorcycles. The body was disbanded exactly one year later; in October 16, 2006. Before its disbanding, GUS comprised 6 groups. The action came as a result of the reforms which started to be executed within the national police and army bodies. The members of the GUS are to be redeployed to other police departments such as criminal investigation departments and judiciary police[59]. While many Moroccans regarded the presence of GUS as a relief, many others considered it as a step back to the rule of the Makhzen (Elite). The disbanding came after many criticisms about excesses or abuses of power were noted. Some irresponsible actions of certain members of this police turned over the public opinion which became discreditory. GUS were also accused of corruption especially. In many cases, civil offenders used to pay a bribe (between 10 and 20 dirhams (Moroccan Currency. This led to the appearance of the popular nickname; "10 drahem"[60].


Moroccan Military Jeep

The Moroccan Royal Gendarmerie was founded in 1957 by late King Mohammed V[61]. The legislation which founded the Royal Moroccan Gendarmerie describes it as a public force designed to guarantee public security and public order and the implementation of laws[62]. This legislation text attaches the Gendarmerie to the Royal Moroccan Army, then constituting a military force in its structure, administration and command forms. It consists of officers, NCOs and privates[63]. Although the Moroccan Royal Gendermerie is a military force it has also been tasked with policing duties throughout the country. The duties of The Royal Moroccan Gendarmerie are numerous and various in kind. However, the legislative body has given great importance to policing duties. The seventh Article of the founding text indicates that "The service aim of the Gendarmerie is to ensure especially administrative, judicial and military policing activities directly and to help to the competent authorizations with the envisaged laws"[64]. According to the legislative body, the three tasks the Royal Gendarmerie is tasked with are as follows:

1. To the National Defence Administration especially on the subjects of organisation equipment and military judicial policing ; To the Ministry of Justice for the implementation of judicial policing; and, To the Ministry of the Interior on the subject of Common Administration Policing[65].

2. The duties of the Royal Gendarmerie, in this field, have been determined by the code of Penal Trial Procedures of 1959. It performs all these duties under the administration of the royal prosecutor and control of the Court of Appeal. Duties consist of determination of the crime before the prosecution gathering the evidence, detection of perpetrators and bringing them before the authorized courts[66].

3. And executing the orders of the judges after the prosecution. The personnel of the Royal Gendarmerie participates in the implementation Judicial Policing. The Royal Gendarmerie who acts with the characteristics of being a judicial oriented police officer according to the Court of Penal Proceedings[67].

In order to perform various duties, the Royal Gendarmerie is organized as follows :

- Headquarter which conducts the classic duties of the organization;

- 22 Regional Gendarmeries; 64 Companies of Gendarmerie and 322 posts of Gendarmerie where they are deployed to divided small security areas[68].

Today the Moroccan Royal Gendarmerie is commanded by a Lieutenant General. They are notorious for taking bribes to allow for the delivery of contraband, including gasoline smuggled in from Algeria and Hashish smuggled out through Tangiers[69].


Morocco's Law Enforcement rates a 3.4 on the corruption list according to Transparency International[70].

Morocco has substantial problems with illegal migration, human smuggling, transnational terrorists, marijuana (hashish) production and trafficking, and commercial smuggling owing to its long and poorly controlled border, extensive coastline, and proximity to Europe. Smuggling of commercial products and trafficking in persons could ultimately provide revenue sources to terrorists[71]. Due to these problems in Morocco, it is very difficult for the law enforcement agencies in the country to effectively combat crime. Morocco also consistently ranks among the world’s largest producers and exporters of cannabis. The value of this illegal trade is estimated at $13 billion per year[72]. However, the United States has set goals for assisting Moroccan Law Enforcement and they have funded and set up programs.

United States Law Enforcement Goals - To further counterterrorism and security cooperation with Morocco and continue to promote the long-standing US-Morocco relationship[73].

- To support Morocco’s efforts to promote and sustain effective judicial reform[74].

United States Programs - U.S. funds are used to provide training, technical assistance, and equipment to improve border control detection techniques and security at Morocco’s main air and sea ports[75].

Based on the different military and law enforcement organizations in Morocco, the type of law enforcement taxonomy, according to Philip Reichel, would be Multiple Coordinated[76].The reason for Morocco to fall into this category is because it has many types of organizations of law enforcement that work together in dealing with crime, protection, security and other important duties necessary to the safety of the country.

Crime Rates and Public Opinion[edit | edit source]

Legal System[edit | edit source]

Morocco's legal system is a mixture of several from around the world. Morocco's legal system is a combination of both Muslim Law and Civil Law[77]. Civil Law originates from Continental Europe and it consists of an actual written code. It is a rational (based on reason) code that is universal (applies to everyone).

Crime[edit | edit source]

Crime in Morocco is a serious concern, particularly in the major cities and tourist areas. Aggressive panhandling, pick-pocketing, purse-snatching, theft from occupied vehicles stopped in traffic and harassment of women are the most frequently reported crimes. Criminals have used weapons, primarily knives, during some street robberies and burglaries. These have occurred at any time of day and night, not only in isolated places or areas less frequented by visitors, but in crowded areas as well[78]. Residential break-ins also occur and have on occasion turned violent, but most criminals look for opportunities based on stealth rather than confrontation[79]. Fraud in Morocco may involve a wide range of situations from financial fraud to relationship fraud for the purpose of obtaining a visa[80].


The most occurring crime in Morocco is the use of drugs. This includes a large amount of drugs being trafficked. The main illicit drug that is being trafficked through Morocco is cannabis (form of marijuana).


Over 65% of the cannabis seized in Europe was of Moroccan origin[81]. As evident from the data here, marijuana or cannabis is the most common drug used and trafficked throughout Morocco and it finds its way into Europe and other parts of Africa. Other drugs such as heroine and morphine are common, but at a much lower rate. Only 3.971 kilograms of heroine was seized by Moroccan officials in 2001[82].

Crime Rates

At the end of the 2010 year Morocco had accounted for 283,702 total crimes. The most typical crimes in Morocco are assaults and drug offenses. The most common form of crime in Morocco is assaults numbering at 46,341 in 2010[83]. In 2010 there were 199 manslaughter's and 143 murders, with only 1 with a firearm. Theft is another important issue in Morocco with the number of car thefts at 1,523. Crime is a very large problem in Morocco especially with a relatively small police force numbering at 41,977 officers[84]. The homicide rate in Morocco however, is much smaller. In 2004 according to an international survey conducted by the United Nations reports that there were less than 10 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants[85].

Rights[edit | edit source]

Citizenship of Morocco was dated on September 5, 1958. The citizenship of Morocco is governed by the code of Moroccan Nationality, which is the identifying term for citizens. There are multiple requirements for a person to be considered a citizen of Morocco.

1. By Birth- Birth within the territory of Morocco does not automatically confer citizenship.

2. By Descent- Child of a Moroccan father, regardless of the child’s country of birth. Child of a Moroccan mother and an unknown or stateless father, regardless of the child's country of birth.

3. Marriage- A foreign woman who marries a Moroccan citizen can become a Moroccan citizen by declaration after two years residency and marriage.

4. By Naturalization- Moroccan citizenship may be acquired upon fulfillment of the following conditions: Person has continually resided in the country for five years and is of full age. Citizenship must be approved by Cabinet decree[86].

Morocco does recognize dual citizenship. However, there are exceptions. Moroccan law recognizes dual citizenship, but permission must be granted by the government before a second citizenship is acquired. Dual citizenship by default is not recognized[87].

As many countries, a person can lose their citizenship. There are two ways in which a person can lose their citizenship.

1. Voluntary- Voluntary renunciation of Moroccan citizenship is permitted by law. Renunciation is not automatic and must be approved by the Ministry of Justice. Contact the Embassy for details and required paperwork.

2. Involuntary- The following are grounds for involuntary loss of Moroccan citizenship (unless the government has previously permitted the activity):

- Person voluntarily acquires a foreign citizenship.

- Moroccan woman marries a foreign national and acquires the husband's citizenship.

- Person serves in the military or public employment of a foreign state and refuses the Moroccan government's demand that they resign[88].

Family Law[edit | edit source]

The following laws regarding marriage in Morocco are described in the Moudawana(Moroccan Family Law).


Jewish Wedding in Morocco in 1024

Marriage is a legal contract by which a man and a woman mutually consent to unite in a common and enduring conjugal life. Its purpose is fidelity, virtue and the creation of a stable family, under the supervision of both spouses according to the provisions of this Moudawana[89]. The following articles of the Moudawana break down the different smaller provisions of marriage in Morocco for those who have established residency in the country, not those living abroad:

Article 10

1. Marriage is legally concluded by an offer expressed by one of the parties and acceptance by the other, in any accepted expression from which the meaning of marriage is inferred verbally or conventionally.

2. Persons unable to speak may legally write their consent if they are literate, and if they cannot write, any clear sign understood by the other party and the witnesses is legally sufficient[90].

Article 11

To be valid, the offer and acceptance must be:

1. expressed verbally whenever possible; otherwise, they must be written; or else expressed by means of an unequivocal sign;

2. congruent and concurrent;

3. irrevocable and not restricted by a condition or a suspensive or nullifying deadline[91].

Article 12

Any marriage contract concluded under duress or by fraud is subject to the provisions of Articles 63 and 66 below[92]. Articles 63 and 66 explain that if a marriage contract is concluded under duress or by fraud, the violating party may face penal sanctions.

Article 13

The conditions required to contract marriage are:

1- The legal capacity of both spouses to marry;

2- No intention or agreement to cancel the dowry;

3- A marital tutor, if required;

4- The hearing and notarized statement by two adouls (public notaries) of the offer and acceptance pronounced by the two spouses;

5- The absence of any legal impediments[93].


Engagement is the reciprocal promise of marriage between a man and a woman. Engagement takes place through the expression by the two parties of a reciprocal promise to marry by any accepted means, including the reading of the Sura of Al Fatiha from the Holy Koran and the customary exchange of presents[94]. The two parties are considered to be in an engagement period until the marriage is officially registered. Each party has the right to break off the engagement[95]. No compensation is due for breaking off the engagement. However, if one of the parties causes any harm to the other, the injured party may ask for compensation from the other[96]. Either party may recover the presents he or she offered to the other provided that the breaking off of the engagement was not his or her decision. Presents are returned in the state in which they were initially offered or reimbursed according to their value, depending on the circumstances[97]. If the engaged man pays the dowry or part of it and the engagement is broken off, or if one of the parties dies during the engagement period, he or his inheritors recovers what the latter initially offered in its original state, something comparable, or something of equivalent value. If the engaged woman refuses to reimburse the money with which she bought furniture, the person responsible for breaking off the engagement assumes the loss between the value of the furniture and the amount of money initially paid[98].


Article 94

If either or both spouses ask the court to settle a dispute that risks to breakdown their marriage, the court must make all efforts to reconcile them according to the provisions of preceding Article 82[99].

Article 95

The two arbitrators or two persons that can assume this role shall investigate the causes of the dispute between the spouses and do their best to resolve the conflict. If the two arbitrators reconcile the two spouses, they shall write a report, make three copies of it, signed by them as well as the spouses, and submit the three copies to the court, which remits a copy to each spouse and files one in the record, and certifies it[100].

Article 96

When the two arbitrators disagree on the content of the report or in the attribution of responsibility, or do not submit the report within the requisite deadline, the court may conduct an additional investigation by all means it judges appropriate[101].

Article 97

In the event reconciliation is impossible to reach, and the conflict between the spouses persists, the court shall make written mention of this in an official report of the proceedings, and grant the divorce as well as fix the vested rights to be paid according to preceding Articles 83, 84 and 85, taking into account each spouse's responsibility for the cause of the separation when considering measures it will order the responsible party to take in favour of the other spouse.

The irreconcilable differences suit shall be settled within a deadline not to exceed six months from the date the petition was filed[102].


According to the Maliki Muslim laws as interpreted in Morocco, sisters inherit less than half of their brothers' share of inheritance. If there is no male heir, the daughter still does not get the full inheritance, and part of her parents' estate goes to her uncles and aunts. The only changes regarding inheritance in the 2004 revision of the CSP concern the rights of the children of a deceased mother to inherit from the maternal grandparents in the same way as children of a deceased father. Laws that forbid a non-Muslim Moroccan wife from inheriting from her Muslim husband remain intact. Discrimination against women in matters of inheritance is exacerbated by cases in which women, particularly rural women, are excluded from receiving their inheritance altogether. The government has not addressed this issue, and the access of rural women to their rightly deserved land and credit continues to be restricted.[103].

Rights of Juveniles

Social Inequality[edit | edit source]

Human Rights[edit | edit source]


Veiled Moroccan Woman

In December of 2002, King Mohammed VI announced that the voting age of citizens will be lowered from 20 to 18[104]. September's parliamentary elections saw a record low turnout of just 52% and the rise of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD). The PJD gained 42 seats to become the third largest party in parliament but it was left out of the new coalition government[105]. Women have the right to take part in elections, which in Morocco are based on a multiparty system. However, all women are not freely able to exercise their right to vote and participate in fair elections, as some candidates exploit the poverty and illiteracy of the poorest women to buy their votes. Government authorities are also known to intervene and direct the voting process, especially in rural and semi-urban areas; nevertheless, these practices, which were widespread in the past, are on the decline[106].

Women's Rights

According to Morocco's 2004 landmark family law, a hotly disputed reform to empower women, cast off their vulnerability and set a trend in Muslim North Africa, was passed and backed by King Mohamed VI[107]. The 2004 reforms gave women the right to divorce their husbands and to own assets and property obtained during marriage, and clamped down sharply on a man's ability to repudiate his wife. However, there are still areas that women wish to improve in, the marriage of minors and the practice of polygamy, which are still allowed under a judge's discretion in this country of 34.3 million where an estimated 31 percent of the population is under 14[108]. Today, 10 percent of all marriages in Morocco involve minors. Women's custody rights under the new family laws guarantee that a Moroccan mother no longer automatically loses her custody rights if she remarries or moves to a town other than the town where her husband resides. However, a mother may still lose custody of her children over the age of seven if she remarries and her husband requests custody; she may obtain legal guardianship of her minor children only in cases in which the father is deceased or legally incompetent[109]. According to the Maliki Muslim laws as interpreted in Morocco, sisters inherit less than half of their brothers' share of inheritance. If there is no male heir, the daughter still does not get the full inheritance, and part of her parents' estate goes to her uncles and aunts[110]. Moroccan women have made significant progress in the field of labor, and the overall quality of women's employment has improved. More women are in wage-earning positions (24.7 percent of women report being at the level of paid employment), the number of women in managerial positions has increased, and a larger proportion of women in the workforce have an advanced degree or diploma. However, while women wage-earners in urban areas are significantly better educated than men, women still tend to work in occupations that lack status, such as family helpers, home workers, or cleaning staff. The social protection system, associated with the formal sector, excludes most women workers in these types of jobs[111].

Works Cited[edit | edit source]

  46. Walmsley, Roy.World Prison Population.Pg. 2.
  47. Amnesty International.Death Sentences And Executions.2010.Pg. 26.
  48. Amnesty International.Death Sentences And Executions.2010.Pg. 45.
  50. BBC News Africa.Morocco Prisons.David Bamford.2001.
  51. BBC News Africa.Morocco Prisons.David Bamford.2001.
  52. Making Children's Rights Work in North Africa: Country Profiles on Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia.2007.Pg. 109.
  54. Nasr,Hesham,Jill Crystal,Nathan Brown.2004.Criminal Justice And Prosecution In The Criminal World.Pg.10
  55. Nasr,Hesham,Jill Crystal,Nathan Brown.2004.Criminal Justice And Prosecution In The Criminal World.Pg.10
  76. Reichel, Philip L.2008.Comparative Criminal Justice Systems.Chapter 6, Pg. 194."An International Perspective on Policing"
  85. page 12
  86. Citizenship Laws of the World.2001.Pg. 138.
  87. Citizenship Laws of the World.2001.Pg. 138.
  88. Citizenship Laws of the World.2001.Pg. 138.
  89. The Moroccan Family Code.Book One of Marriage.Article 4.2004.
  90. The Moroccan Family Code.Book One of Marriage.Article 10.2004.
  91. The Moroccan Family Code.Book One of Marriage.Article 11.2004.
  92. The Moroccan Family Code.Book One of Marriage.Article 12.2004.
  93. The Moroccan Family Code.Book One of Marriage.Article 13.2004.
  94. The Moroccan Family Code.The Book of Marriage.Engagements.Article 5.2004.
  95. The Moroccan Family Code.The Book of Marriage.Engagements.Article 6.2004.
  96. The Moroccan Family Code.The Book of Marriage.Engagements.Article 7.2004.
  97. The Moroccan Family Code.The Book of Marriage.Engagements.Article 8.2004.
  98. The Moroccan Family Code.The Book of Marriage.Engagements Article 9.2004.
  99. The Moroccan Family Code.Title Four:Divorce.Article 94.2004.
  100. The Moroccan Family Code.Title Four:Divorce.Article 95.2004.
  101. The Moroccan Family Code.Title Four:Divorce.Article 96.2004.
  102. The Moroccan Family Code.Title Four:Divorce.Article 97.2004.
  103. Rights and Equal Opportunity