Rabat – The Moroccan parliament approved on Monday a bill making the King’s Attorney General at the Court of Cassation the new head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, independent from any parliamentary oversight or government intervention. It took less than two weeks for members of the first chamber to review and validate the 33-17 bill. The text in question, relating to the transfer of the powers of the prosecutor’s office of the Ministry of Justice to the Attorney General of the King at the Court of Cassation and presented to Parliament on July 6, sparked fierce opposition from the majority and opposition parties alike. The parties in questions could not reach an agreement on some of the points proposed by the bill, concerned that it would remove the Public Prosecution from the authority of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary The Justice and Development Party (PJD) led a fierce opposition. While the PJD’s first amendment on the necessity for the new prosecution office to adopt the penal policy enacted by the government, its second amendment, which refused to grant financial and administrative autonomy to the prosecutor general, was rejected. Isolated, the PJD parliamentary group was forced to withdraw its demand. The Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), which expressed its utmost rejection of the bill, is considering to take matter to the Constitutional Court. “The prosecution office should not be above monitoring and accounting,” Abdellatif Wahbi told Morocco World News, expressing his fears regarding an institution that might become “autarch in a time when we lost control over it.” On July 19, the bill was voted in committee after validation and rejection of the amendments proposed by the deputies and accepted by the government. The bill was validated in record time, as it was adopted during the plenary session on Monday, and then submitted to the Second Chamber Tuesday. At this rate, the bill will leave the legislative circuit before the end of the current spring session, which should be closed by August 8. The draft law is expected to be implemented before October 7, when the public prosecutor should enter service in its new form, permanently sealing the independence of the judiciary.This is neither the first nor the second time in a few months that Parliament will adopt a bill with such speed. Last January, it took only a few hours for the Committee on Foreign Affairs to validate the bill approving the statutes of the African Union. The 2017 Finance Bill was also rushed through the House of Representatives, sparking in turn a huge controversy among the parliament and the public alike. On average, the examination and voting of a bill in both Houses takes about 207 days.
Moroccan Parliament Rushes Approval of Public Prosecution Independence Bill