Young Lawyers Spearhead Fight Against Corruption in Morocco

Judge Barkett of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, who also serves as chair of ABA ROLI’s Middle East and North Africa Council, speaks to lawyers and representatives from civil society during an event in Khemisset, Morocco.

Judge Barkett of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, who also serves as chair of ABA ROLI’s Middle East and North Africa Council, speaks to lawyers and representatives from civil society during an event in Khemisset, Morocco.

June 2011 

For years, lawyers in Morocco have been working to fight the country’s endemic corruption. In support of their efforts, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) partnered with the Rabat Union of Young Lawyers to open an anti-corruption legal advocacy center (ALAC) in 2010. Staffed by four energetic young lawyers, the Rabat ALAC provides advice and counsel to Moroccan citizens who voice concerns about corruption. The center has assisted dozens of clients on issues ranging from public officials soliciting bribes to citizen harassment by law enforcement.

The success of the Rabat ALAC has been widely noticed. The unions of young lawyers in Casablanca, Tangier, Marrakech and Khemisset have all approached ABA ROLI for guidance of establishing anti-corruption centers in their communities.  And, with ABA ROLI support, the Khemisset Union of Young Lawyers (KUYL) has accomplished its goal.

On June 15, the newest ALAC was launched in a traditional Moroccan riad, which KUYL donated to house the public advocacy center. Before an audience of roughly 50 lawyers, human rights activists and local business professionals, a joint ABA ROLI- KUYL press conference and kickoff event celebrated the center’s opening.

Judge Rosemary Barkett, chair of ABA ROLI’s Middle East and North Africa Council and member of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, gave a keynote address. Judge Barkett noted that a strong legal system is crucial to a well-functioning democracy and that a community of strong democracies is necessary for a stable, peaceful and prosperous world. She highlighted the role of lawyers as the guardians of the rule of law and wished KUYL success in its endeavor.

The ALACs are part of a larger anti-corruption project implemented by ABA ROLI and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. In addition to this effort, ABA ROLI engages in institutional work with Morocco’s Judicial Association and its Central Authority for the Prevention of Corruption.

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

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