Morocco Approves Landmark Witness and Whistleblower Protection Law

November 2011

In early October, the Moroccan parliament passed a landmark law to protect trial witnesses and experts, as well as whistleblowers who report corruption. Working with Morocco’s Anti-Corruption Commission, l’Instance Centrale de Prévention de la Corruption (ICPC), the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) provided research assistance for this legislation, providing analogous legal codes from other countries in the region, and drafting and amending the initial text to produce the final law.

The law offers significant protection to witness and experts, allowing judges and prosecutors to ensure their safety (and the safety of their families) through a number of mechanisms, including new identities and safe houses. While these are common practices in many countries, they are new to Morocco. Moreover, a witness or expert may demand these protections if they are not offered by the judge or prosecutor, and whistleblowers are now protected from administrative or criminal sanctions if corruption is revealed to them in the course of their duties. Oversight mechanisms will be established to ensure that neither individuals nor agencies can engage in reprisal. 

The witness protection legislation is just one of several laws that ABA ROLI and ICPC have collaborated on or continue to develop under ABA ROLI’s anti-corruption program in Morocco, which is funded by the Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. Earlier in 2011, a Freedom of Information Act was passed and a conflict of interest law is currently working its way through the legislative process.

Equally significant, the ICPC, with ABA ROLI technical expertise, is currently drafting new legislation that will strengthen its institutional mandate in response to significantly increased authorities and power granted to it under the new Moroccan constitution. ABA ROLI is also assisting the ICPC with institutional capacity building. 

For more information on our work in Morocco, please contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at rol@americanbar.org

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