Strengthening Counter-Terrorism Efforts in Morocco within the Framework of the European Union-Funded Action in the Maghreb Region

The Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC/TPB) organized a national workshop in Rabat, Morocco, from 29 September to 1 October 2015, under the framework of a UNODC/TPB-Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) joint initiative funded by the European Union (EU).

Twelve Moroccan criminal justice and law enforcement officers, together with seven international senior experts from France, Germany, Spain and Tunisia, as well as EUROJUST, EUROPOL and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) participated in the workshop entitled "The Use of Special Investigation Techniques to Combat Terrorism within the Framework of the Rule of Law and with Respect for Human Rights". The workshop was opened by the Deputy Chief of the EU Delegation in Morocco, and several EU Member States representatives in Rabat participated in the sessions.

The objective of the three-day workshop was to present to Moroccan criminal justice and law enforcement officials relevant judicial frameworks, mechanisms, challenges and best practices in using special investigation techniques in terrorism related cases with full respect for human rights and the rule of law.

In particular, through interactive discussions and presentations illustrated by concrete cases and case studies, participants and experts discussed various issues related to:

  • audio and video surveillance (including, wiretapping/telephone tapping and videotaping) in public spaces, professional and private areas, including in sensitive premises such as prisons and police custody cells;
  • special measures regarding home searches or conducting searches in workplaces (hours to conduct searches, legally protected areas or professions, etc.);
  • administrative surveillance measures (including wiretapping/telephone tapping, videotaping, police shadowing and supervision, etc.);
  • special investigation techniques on the Internet/Electronic surveillance (anonymous browsing for investigation purposes, interception of data and mails, decryption of encoded data, etc.);
  • undercover operations/infiltrated officers, while respecting the rights of the accused person (judicial oversight, mechanisms and procedures to protect the disclosure of sources and collection methods, protection of the anonymity and integrity of intelligence officers); and
  • the international cooperation aspects relating the use of special investigation techniques in counter terrorism cases (including within the framework of international letters rogatory).

Participants and experts analyzed the mechanisms to ensure effectiveness of those techniques while respecting the rule of law, as well as the potential application of the good practices highlighted during the seminar to the Moroccan system.

The UNODC-CTED initiative funded by the EU was launched in June 2014 and aims at strengthening the capacity of countries in the Maghreb region, especially Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia, in investigating and prosecuting counter-terrorism cases while respecting human rights and the rule of law.