Virtual Justice: Morocco Holds 4,403 Remote Trials in 3 Months

Morocco opted for remote trials on April 27. Photo: CPSJ

Rabat – Moroccan courts carried out 4,403 remote trials and scheduled 75,203 cases between April 27 and July 24, reported Morocco’s Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSPJ).

A total of 87,893 detainees have benefitted from remote trials since the Ministry of Justice suspended in-person court hearings on March 16 as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19. Remote trials officially commenced in Morocco on April 27. 

The remote trials aim to protect both detainees and judiciary personnel from the virus, but ultimately inspired Morocco’s Ministry of Justice to digitize its operations and services.

Morocco’s CSPJ used the latest data on remote trials to highlight the success of the justice ministry’s shift to digital thus far. 

“So many indicators represent a strong stimulus for all of us, as partners, to commit themselves further to developing the mechanisms of this program and the technical and human resources allocated to it in order to achieve the expected objectives,” the CSPJ said in a press release quoted by Hespress. 

The CSPJ aims at boosting “constitutional and legal guarantees and offering the services of digital, integrated, and efficient justice.”

“The implementation of the remote trial system in the various courts of the Kingdom reflects the Kingdom’s strategic decisions to deal with the repercussions related to the global health crisis,” the same source stated. 

On June 2, Minister of Justice Mohamed Benabdelkader said the remote trials, ongoing since April 27, represent the first stage in the digitization of the judicial system. 

He added that the plan for the digitization of the justice system should incorporate remote communication and artificial intelligence techniques into the various stages of judicial services. 

The Ministry of Justice has already adopted an internal audiovisual system to enhance computer security and protect sensitive information during remote trials.

Some trial procedures and services such as the request for criminal records should go digital, Benabdelkader continued, and legal professionals must have digital platforms for the communication, management, sharing, and production of information.

Actors and stakeholders in Morocco’s judicial system have acknowledged the success of remote trials during this phase. The transition, Benabdeklader said, has helped protect detainees, prisoners, prison staff, judges, and court officials from COVID-19.

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