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Morocco judges sign judicial independence petition

A group of Moroccan judges signed a petition [AP report] on Monday that urges judicial independence from Morocco's monarchy and parliament. The petition, circulated by the 1,800 member Morocco judges' club, particularly emphasizes the need for prosecutors to be able to operate without influence by the executive branch. Although Article 82 of the Moroccan constitution [text, PDF, in French] calls for the judiciary to remain independent from the legislative and executive branches, there is fear in Morocco that the executive branch is exerting too much influence over Moroccan judges. Yassine Mkhelli, the president of the Morocco judges' club, declared that the club would go on strike if their demands for judicial independence were not met.

In July voters in Morocco overwhelmingly approved a revised constitution [JURIST report] that curbed the monarchy's powers. The reformed constitution guarantees more rights for women and gives more powers to the prime minister and the legislative branch. Less than two weeks after voters approved the revised constitution, the Moroccan Human Rights Association (AMDH) [advocacy website, in Arabic] called for a judicial investigation [JURIST report] into the new constitution's legitimacy, saying that government authorities influenced the vote. Also in July law professor and JURIST guest columnist Moshe Gershovich opined [JURIST comment] that while Morocco's new constitution gives the monarchy too much power, it provides a model of peaceful democratic transition for other countries in the region.

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