Moroccan Experts Gather to Discuss Plea Bargaining

March 2012

For several years, Morocco’s Ministry of Justice has expressed interest in creating opportunities for Moroccan legal professionals to learn more about plea bargaining and its potential to ease the backlog of criminal cases in the country’s courts. In response, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s (ABA ROLI’s) Morocco office held a two-day conference on plea bargaining from February 20–21 in Rabat. The event was held in association with the Moroccan Ministry of Justice and funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.

Led by Erwin Petilos ABA ROLI country director in Morocco, the conference featured two well-respected Georgian presenters, Lasha Maghradze, chairman of the Supreme Court’s Bureau, and judge Zaza Meishvili, the first deputy of the Supreme Court’s chairman. Maghradze and Meishvili shared their perspectives on the introduction of plea bargaining in Georgia and took part in question-and-answer sessions. Plea bargaining was implemented in the Georgian justice system in 2004, and since then the rate of plea bargains in criminal cases has risen to 88 percent.

The first day of the conference included sessions on the current state of the Moroccan legal system, comparative examples of legal systems that have incorporated plea bargaining and perspectives from various Moroccan legal professionals on the impact that the introduction of plea bargaining might have on the Moroccan legal system. The second day included several breakout sessions, the goal of which is to produce a set of draft recommendations on plea bargaining. The conference generated considerable interest on the part of the Moroccan Ministry of Justice, which is now working with ABA ROLI to develop initiatives to assess the feasibility of implementing a plea bargaining system in Morocco and to promote its eventual adoption.

To learn more about our work in Morocco, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org.

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