April 1, 2023

In a report released by the National Human Rights Council today, Friday, regarding reporting on violence against women and girls and fighting impunity, in addition to shortcomings in criminal law, there are a number of problems whistleblowers face.

The Council criticized the widespread implementation of refusals in cases of sexual harassment of women and girls in the case of the accused entering into a marriage contract with the victims and their refusal to complain “depending on the requirements of chapter 55 of the Criminal Code”, noting that the refusal and marriage of a raped woman with her rapist is considered impunity.

The Board pointed out that the victim’s refusal to file a complaint in a case of gender-based violence affects the outcome of the case and the punishment imposed, regardless of the type of case and whether it is an ordinary crime or a crime with a complaint, which increases the chances that the victim will be pressured to refusing punishment, and helps him avoid punishment.

The issue was at the center of discussion between Lamia Ben Salama, First Deputy King’s Procurator at the Rabat Court of Appeal, and Amna Buayach, President of the National Council for Human Rights, as well as members of the Council itself, who provided excerpts from the report, as Ben Salama argued that ” the victim of a misdemeanor has the right to refuse if she wants to, but the prosecutor’s office reserves the right to appropriate follow-up, and after examining judicial information and finding that the elements in question require preservation, this is done, especially in the absence of evidence or medical indications, and denial of the case, in addition to the fact that the applicant is lenient. How would a public action be brought in such a case?

The same spokeswoman explained that “in criminal cases, when the victim files a complaint about rape or kidnapping and despite her concession, the accused is placed in pre-trial detention if there is sufficient evidence.”

For her part, Amna Buayach emphasized that “the council listens to the victims and builds its conclusions on reality”, emphasizing the importance of cooperation between various institutions and authorities in order to protect battered women.

A report by the National Human Rights Council found an increase in the number of reports of violence against women, as the total number of complaints registered with the prosecutor’s office in 2020 reached 64,251 complaints, spread between 53,552 regular complaints and 10,699 electronic complaints. In 2021, 96,276 complaints were registered, and in 2022 there were about 75,240 complaints.

The report notes a discrepancy between courts of the same instance, and sometimes between courts of different instances, regarding the assignment of a group of homogeneous acts as a result of vague definitions and the lack of criminalization of a group of acts. the trend towards delinquent cases of violence against women, which can be classified as criminal offences.

The same source pointed out that the criminal law does not clearly define the terms “rape” and “lewd assault” and does not criminalize marital rape in specific text, just as the anti-trafficking law does not address the concept of “exploitation of vulnerability” in the definition of “trafficking”. people.” It does not provide that victims of trafficking in human beings are not liable for wrongful acts committed under duress or directly related to such trafficking.

The report focused on the lack of special hearings for crimes of violence against women and the limited measures taken to ease the legal burden for victims of violence by not activating the confidentiality of some hearings for victims and not preventing confrontation between them and their aggressors, especially in cases of sexual assault against women and girls.

The council also warned about the weakness of free medical services provided to victims of violence, which are limited to medical reasons and do not include follow-up care, especially in cases of sexual violence.

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