As part of the continued implementation of its preventive and proactive counter-terrorism policy, the Moroccan security services have recently arrested three extremists affiliated to the terrorist organization “ISIS”, for their suspected involvement in an intentional homicide within the framework of a terrorist project of which a policeman was victim during the exercise of his functions.
According to the first elements of the investigation, the suspects had recently pledged allegiance to “ISIS” and planned to participate in a local terrorist project with the aim of seriously undermining public order, and the security of the Kingdom.
The suspects are in custody pending further investigations to have more light on the case, namely to identify any other potential accomplices and to detect any possible links to international terrorist cells and organizations.
These arrests are part of the Kingdom’s constant efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism conducted in an anticipatory and proactive approach based on the implementing of a multidimensional and integrated strategy aimed at preventing terrorist attacks in strict compliance with the rule of law and human rights principles. This approach is based on the following 5 dimensions:
The religious dimension:
The policy for the management of religious affairs in the Kingdom is based on the fact that the Head of State, as Commander of the Faithful, has a legitimacy that is based on an exercise of power for 12 centuries. The corollary of this function is the preservation of religious constants and the protection of the free exercise of religion, based on the principles of moderate, tolerant and open Sunni Islam.
The security and legal dimension:
On the security front, the strategy put in place by Morocco to fight against terrorism and violent extremism with the aim of eradicating this scourge that threatens not only Morocco, but the entire Maghreb and Sahel region, is based on the prevention of malicious acts, vigilance and monitoring.
This proactive approach has made it possible to anticipate potential terrorist attacks, to abort several attacks against the security and stability of the country.
An overhaul of the national security architecture has been carried out in order to strengthen the Kingdom’s security governance and in application of the provisions of the Constitution which enshrines the principles of democracy and respect for human rights and the rule of law.
To this end, Morocco set up the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ) in March 2015 which is in charge of dealing with counter-terrorism cases under the supervision of the Presidency of the Public Ministry.
The Kingdom has also strengthened its legal arsenal through amendments to the Penal Code, in particular through Law No. 86.14 of 2015 supplementing and amending Law 03-03 of 2003 on the fight against terrorism.
The socio-economic dimension:
Preventing and combating violent extremism in the Kingdom of Morocco also involves promoting inclusive human development, so as to establish strong social nets that strengthen the resilience of vulnerable categories to radicalization and prevent the creation of breeding grounds for terrorism and violent extremism.
Reinforcing human rights and the rule of law:
The 2011 Constitution establishes a veritable National Charter of Human Rights. The supreme norm of the Kingdom of Morocco has brought the country into a constitutionalism that has enabled national ownership of the principles of human rights protection and promotion, through the constitutionalization of numerous institutions and bodies for the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms, good governance, human and sustainable development and participatory democracy.
The constitutionalization of these mechanisms is a major political act, aiming to strengthen the institutional mechanism and consolidate the national architecture of human rights.
The pillar of international cooperation:
Convinced of the importance of combining the efforts of the international community in fighting terrorism, the Kingdom is committed to international cooperation through its various declinations including triangular cooperation, north-south cooperation and south-south cooperation.
Morocco participates at the regional and international levels in the dissemination of good practices and lessons learned developed at the national, regional and international levels in the fight against violent extremism. It is through awareness of the centrality of international cooperation in the fight against violent extremism, that the Kingdom of Morocco is in an advanced phase of developing an ambitious cooperation program with its partners in the various fields related to the fight against violent extremism.
In its capacity as Co-Chair of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum (GCTF), Morocco has developed with the Netherlands the Hague-Marrakesh Memorandum on Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTF). This memorandum is an important tool available to States and brings together the best practices developed in the management of FTFs. The Kingdom and the European Union have agreed to establish an initiative within the framework of the GCTF on “education to prevent and combat violent extremism leading to terrorism”, which will be announced in May 2023.