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Thursday, May 11, 2023
Speech by the President Delegate on the Occasion of the 16th Biennial Conference of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) on “Women Judges: Achievements and Challenges” Marrakech, 11-14 May 2023

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Beneficent.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Our Moroccan judges are most delightfully welcoming you, women judges from around the world, to join us today in Morocco, the land of peace, prosperity, and harmonious coexistence. In the name of all Moroccan judges, women, and men, I bid you welcome to the beautiful Marrakech and I hope you have a pleasant stay. My best wishes for the success of the 16th Biennial Conference of your Association under the theme “Women Judges: Achievements and Challenges”.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

Convening the 16th Biennial Conference of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) under the high patronage of HM King Mohamed VI, may Allah bless Him, the President of the Supreme Council of the Judicial Power of the Kingdom of Morocco and the guarantor of the judiciary’s independence, is HM the King’s expression of the Kingdom’s support of women’s issues and its constant participation in achieving full equality between men and women in the judiciary, same as in other spheres of public life. This conference also reflects women’s enjoyment of their rights within the community and ensures true parity between them and men. 

Therefore, we are deeply grateful to HM the King for the support and assistance He has offered and continues to offer to women’s issues, driven by His belief in Women’s capacities and competencies. HM expressed this in the message He sent to the participants in the 2nd “Women in Africa” Initiative Summit held on September 27, 2018, in Marrakech, where HM said: “No country, economy, business or society can tackle today’s challenges, nor ensure optimal use of its resources and energies, without the full involvement of women”.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

The Moroccan woman made a name for herself and imposed her presence alongside men. She, too, enrolled in the judiciary in the wake of the Kingdom’s independence, as the first woman joined the judiciary in the 1960s. This was unprecedented in the Arab world during this period.

Indeed, the 1980s witnessed the first female judges appointed to the Court of Cassation. Subsequently, the presence of women in the judicial arena has become more prominent since the mid-1990s. Women held leadership positions in courts, and soon after, they explored different judicial areas and decision-making positions and served as presidents of chambers in the Court of Cassation, presidents of Courts of Appeals, and presidents of courts or prosecutors of the King at the Public Prosecution. Women account for 26% of the unified justice system, which comprises sitting and prosecution judges. For the time being, 20 Moroccan female judges hold management positions at Courts of Appeals, district courts, and their public prosecutions. Likewise, one female judge presides over a chamber of the Court of Cassation, and five others head different divisions at the said court.

Along the same vein, Moroccan female judges managed, deservedly and efficiently, to fulfill national and international commitments to which they were nominated as members, either of the constitutional court, governance councils, or major constitutional institutions. They also shouldered the duties of administrative management of the judicial administration, in addition to their participation in international courts and committees pertaining to the judicial and human rights fields.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

I am well aware that all the achievements accomplished by the female Moroccan judge in assuming senior judicial leadership roles remain far less than what she deserves. Hence, the Supreme Council of the Judicial Power dedicated one of the articles of its Strategy to encouraging women to seek senior roles in the legal profession and decision-making.  As such, the Council has unwavering faith in the capacity of the female Moroccan judge to attain this, by virtue of the Moroccan Constitution, which stipulates equality and equity between men and women and prevents gender discrimination. Likewise, Chapter 115 of the Kingdom’s Constitution consecrated this and was positively biased toward women when it guaranteed women’s representation in the Supreme Council of the Judicial Power in proportion to women’s representation in the judiciary. As a consequence, three women judges are now present among the ten elected members of the Council.

Along the same line, the 37th procedure of the Council’s Strategic Plan seeks to ensure parity in assigning judicial responsibilities while taking into account competence and equal opportunities. Surely, the Council’s ambition in this regard is in consonance with the approach of HM the King, may Allah assist Him, underlined in the Throne Day Speech of 2022 where He stated: “The question here is not about giving women unwarranted privileges; rather, it is about giving them their legal and legitimate rights. Today, in Morocco, women cannot be deprived of their rights”.

Certainly, this is the opportune time to achieve this objective as the current Constitution granted the judiciary supreme constitutional status and rendered it a third power in the country, independent from the parliament and the government. The King personally guarantees its independence and the Supreme Council of the Judicial Power protects this independence in a concrete manner. Moreover, judges have their own Statute which provides them with all the guarantees to practice litigation duties with independence, impartiality, and neutrality, while staying shielded from any pressure and influence. Besides, Moroccan judges are equipped with a Code of Deontology that promotes their independence and impartiality, as well as preserves their honor and reverence. The Council works alongside courts and judges' professional organizations to publish and promote the said Code.

By the same token, if Article 103 of the Law on the Council ensures observance of and adherence to judicial values, and the promotion of the culture of integrity and moralization, thus strengthening the judiciary’s independence; then Article 104 of the same Law dictates that judges who consider their independence jeopardized must refer a report on the matter to the Council. This procedure is adopted to protect judges’ independence, which HM the King guarantees by virtue of Chapter 107 of the Constitution and the Council ensures its implementation in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 113 of the Constitution. I think that the Constitutional framework shall provide female judges with all the guarantees to hold different judicial positions and practice every competence, just like their male counterparts. I assure you that the Council takes the gender approach with much firmness and resolve.

Ladies and Gentlemen;

The Supreme Council of the Judicial Power pins its hopes on your Conference and deems it an opportunity for women judges to exchange experiences and expertise, as well as learn about successful judicial practices. This Conference also brings together female judges from different continents and ensures their interaction so as to boost the confidence of women judges in themselves and in judicial systems under which women still need support in order to demonstrate their efficiency and showcase their potential.

I have no doubt that the charm of Marrakech and its cultural richness, vibrant colors, refreshing air, and tolerance of its people will serve your conference well and encourage a rich and thorough debate.


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