THE KINGDOM OF MOROCCO CREATES A NATIONAL CRIME OBSERVATORY
UNAFRI EXPERTISE REQUESTED
On 24 January 2023, the Minister of Justice of the Kingdom of Morocco, Mr. Abdellatif OUAHBI, sent a letter to the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFRI) requesting its technical support, as part of the steps taken for the creation of the National Crime Observatory within the Moroccan Ministry of Justice. This request naturally fell within the framework of UNAFRI's technical assistance mission for the benefit of Member States. Through this judicious choice, the Kingdom of Morocco has favored African expertise by granting a special place to UNAFRI which is the only Institute in the Africa region in charge of crime prevention and criminal justice. To respond to this request, UNAFRI had to coordinate with the Moroccan Ministry of Justice to organize a consultative mission by its experts, in order to support the efforts of the Kingdom of Morocco, for the good start of the Observatory, in particular through exchange of expertise and technical support, aimed at developing the skills necessary for this purpose.
Following this, Dr KITIO Édouard, Director of UNAFRI, set up a technical team composed as follows:
1- Mr. KITIO Édouard, Non-Hierarchical Magistrate, Doctor in Business Law, Director General of UNAFRI;
2- Mr. Moktar ADAMOU, Lecturer, Associate Professor of the Faculties of Law and Criminal Sciences, Dean of the Faculty of Law and Political Science of the University of Parakou (Benin);
3- Mr. NTONO TSIMI Germain, Associate Professor of Private Law and Criminal Sciences, Director of Academic Affairs and Cooperation at the University of Yaoundé II (Cameroon).
The mission took place at the large complex of the Training Center for Judicial Institutions of Morocco on 4, 5 and 6, June 2023. It began on 4 June 2023, with the protocol phase at the Ministry of Justice; an occasion during which the Minister, along with his closest collaborators, received the UNAFRI team in his office in Rabat, and insisted on the importance of trusting African institutions, before resorting to complementary foreign expertise. The Minister reiterated his deep willingness to open Morocco to other African countries for an African approach to penal reforms. He then expressed his firm desire to allow all judicial and extrajudicial professions to benefit from the numerous opportunities that Morocco offers, including conferences and other meetings or training in Morocco.
After the conversation with the Minister, a working session took place in the Conference Room of the Directorate of Criminal Affairs and Pardons, with the Director and all his technical directors, extended to certain essential collaborators. On this occasion, Mr. Hicham Mellati, Director of Criminal Affairs and Pardons and Crime Surveillance, presented to the experts, all of Morocco's criminal policy; the responsibilities of the directorate (created in 1957), the current and ongoing reforms; perspectives, and the place of the National Crime Observatory in Moroccan penal policy. He noted that his services have also developed several documents, resulting from conferences and thematic research. A guided tour of Management was provided by the Director.
The technical phase of the mission began with the presentation of UNAFRI and its international cooperation mechanisms, by the Director of UNAFRI. We learned that UNAFRI is a pan-African institution with a broad mandate in crime prevention and criminal justice. Its missions cover, among other things, training and capacity building of authorities, responsible for applying criminal laws, research, technical assistance for the benefit of African States, collection and dissemination of criminal statistics from member States, scientific innovation in crime prevention.
The National Crime Observatory was presented by Ms. BENYAHIA SOFANA, who is its Coordinator. We will learn from his presentation that the idea for the creation of the Observatory came from the Speech of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, on the occasion of the 56th Anniversary of the Revolution of the King, and the people, of 20 August 2009. The idea was then implemented through regulatory texts, notably the Charter for the Reform of the Judicial System, of July 2013, sub-objective no. 92; Decree No. 2-22-400 of 21 Rabie 1, 1444 (18October 2022) establishing the responsibilities and organization of the Ministry of Justice; Decision of the Minister of Justice No. 22-1501 of 22 Rabie 1, 1444 (19 October 2022) establishing the responsibilities and organization of the divisions and services attached to the Central Directorates of the Ministry of Justice.
By virtue of the decision mentioned above, the National Crime Observatory (ONC) is responsible for collecting statistical data from the parties concerned, specializing in monitoring the crime phenomenon. It is also responsible for proposing solutions for preventing and combating crime. To this end, the Observatory exercises the following responsibilities: data collection; analysis and interpretation of data; the production of statistics and indicators; the preparation of reports and studies; the dissemination of information; collaboration and coordination.
The ONC has six services: Crime Monitoring Service; Department Study and analysis of the criminal phenomenon; Crime Prevention Service; National Criminal Records Service; International criminal records exchange service; Documentation Department. Its internal environment is made up of the central directorates of the Ministry of Justice, regional directorates, courts (registries) and auxiliaries of justice. As for the external environment, we note the Superior Council of the Judicial Power, the Presidency of the Public Prosecutor's Office, the General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration, the General Directorate of National Security, etc.
The experts notably focused their presentations on “Panorama of some anti-crime observatories” (Pr. ADAMOU Moktar); “The Observatory for the fight against crime and the two criminologists” (Pr. NTONO TSIMI Germain); “General crime and its factors” (Pr. ADAMOU Moktar); “Looking at crime in Morocco” (interactive exchanges); “Production and dissemination of criminal statistics: methods and issues” (Pr. NTONO TSIMI Germain).
All these presentations were followed by enriching debates.
At the end of the mission, the Moroccan side and UNAFRI agreed to develop a Memorandum of Understanding to crystallize their partnership in terms of training and technical assistance.
Joint Activities and Strategies
This programme aims at sensitizing member States towards promoting joint activities and enhancing cooperation with related UN Institutes and other agencies in responding to the most pressing needs in crime prevention and criminal justice.
At the same time, it attempts to identify new strategies to confront transnational crime. Recent evidence has shown that African countries are faced with significant problems created by the emergence of criminal groups and their activities.
Criminal groups are diversifying their activities by reorganizing their operations in a more sophisticated fashion, limiting the use of force and violence and turning to other means of persuasion.
Organized crime in the African region is also adapting its operation to new political and economic realities, profiting from new pacts and cooperative arrangements thereby posing a long term threat to sustainable socio-economic development.
The Institute is thus, expected to play a crucial role in assisting Member States in this endeavour, in terms of legal advice, promotion of technical assistance and provision of training. Progress Report.
The Institute has continued to participate in a number of joint activities with related institutes and agencies like United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy- Vancouver, Canada. They have included organizing and planning joint training activities, research/data collection.
In addition, UNAFRI has participated in a number of regional, sub-regional and international meetings and seminars organized in different parts of the world, African Union Ministers Meeting, Addis Ababa, Commission Meeting Viebnna, Trafficking in Women in East African Reion, Kampala, Uganda.The Institute played an active role in the preparation and execution of the African Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Ninth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders that was hosted by Uganda Government in Kampala, February, 1994.
The Institute played a similar role during the 9th Congress held in Cairo, Egypt, from 29 April, to 10 May, 1995. UNAFRI is often invited to participate in a number of Expert meeting , Organised by UNODC.