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05RABAT2227 2005-10-28 17:06:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Rabat
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1. (C) Summary: Poloff met with Dr. Abdelhay Moudden, a
member of the Equity and Reconciliation Commission (IER), on
October 19 to discuss developments within the IER. Moudden
was forthcoming and pleased with the progress of the IER. He
believes the IER to be pivotal in Morocco's reform process.
Moudden is less supportive of Sahrawi victims of abuse during
the IER's timeframe of concern, that is 1956-1999, than he is
of other victims. End Summary.

2. (C) On October 19, Poloff met with Dr. Abdelhay Moudden,
a member of the IER, to discuss developments. The IER is
scheduled to submit its final report to King Mohamed VI at
the end of November, and the offices are scheduled to close
by the end of 2005. Moudden indicated that the report may or
may not be published; the decision is at the discretion of
the King. He, however, suspects that the entire report will
be published.

3. (C) While the IER is generally praised as being the
first commission of this type in an Arab country, it has also
been criticized for not publishing the names of the
individuals who perpetrated the crimes against others and not
bringing the perpetrators to trial. Moudden stated that
many of the files, i.e., the files of those who testified to
the IER, do name individual perpetrators of abuse; however,
evidence was not presented in all cases, or at least evidence
that could be substantiated. In addition, Moudden said that
identifying the perpetrators publicly could potentially
destroy the entire reform and liberalization process in
Morocco because some of the perpetrators are still in the
military or police branches. Perpetrators names were not
mentioned in the public hearings as libel suits could have
been filed against the IER. Moudden emphasized that the
purpose of the IER was to build confidence within the society
and to provide for reconciliation. (Note: The Moroccan
Association for Human Rights, AMDH, also held public hearings
in which perpetrators names were mentioned. End Note.)

4. (C) The IER does not have the mandate to bring
perpetrators of human rights violations to trial. Moudden
noted that even South Africa had problems resolving the issue
of whether or not to bring perpetrators to trial. The
Moroccan decision was that families may choose to bring civil
suits against those who committed crimes against them.

5. (C) The IER focused on events and the resulting human
rights violations which occurred between 1956 and 1999.
Moudden estimated that, of the 22,000 cases documented by the
IER, 10-15,000 cases were politically related. He used the
example of the March 1973 armed socialist rebellion to show
how people were mistreated. The rebellion began in the
mountains of Algeria and spread to Morocco. The Moroccan
military followed the socialist forces through rural areas,
randomly arresting, removing and killing Moroccans. Moudden
pointed out that the majority of people had nothing to do
with the rebellion. Another example Moudden cited was the
state versus Marxism or socialism in the period between 1960
to 1973. Individuals were arrested because they were
demanding constitutional change and were identified as
socialists or Marxists.

6. (C) When questioned about IER activities in the Western
Sahara, Moudden shared his personal view that the Sahrawis
"lost patience" with the IER and that "the separatists take
advantage" of the GOM. Originally, hearings were to be held
in Laayoune in May; these, however, were postponed by the
IER. In hindsight, Moudden felt that it was just as well
because of the May-June demonstrations in Laayoune. When
asked whether hearings might still be held in Laayoune,
Moudden said that the IER's mandate had ended. Poloff
pressed Moudden to explain why Sahrawi victims were not
allowed their chance to participate in public hearings. He
said some Sahrawis had been part of the televised hearings in
other parts of Morocco. (Note: It is possible that the
failure to hold public hearings in the Western Sahara will
ultimately detract from the IER's credibility. End Note.)

7. (C) Recent press reports in Morocco discussed the
location of 50 graves identified from the IER records. While
AMDH claims this number to be ridiculously small, Moudden
said that these graves were only the beginning of the
discovery process. No forensic anthropologist is part of the
IER team; however, the investigative branch of the IER
researches the allegations made by victims and collates the
information to determine where individuals might be buried.
Moudden indicated that this process will continue after the
closure of the IER offices. The Consultative Council on
Human Rights (CCDH) will likely take over the investigative
work of the IER and be the depository for the extensive
documentation accumulated by the IER, according to Moudden.

Biographic Note


8. (C) Moudden received his masters degree from Western
Florida University and his doctorate degree in political
science from the University of Michigan in the mid-1980's.
He said that when he returned to Morocco he was unable to
teach political science because of King Hassan II's policies.
He now teaches at Mohammed V University in Agdal, Rabat, and
admitted that he is re-energized by serving on the IER. He
owns and operates with his spouse the "Center for
Cross-Cultural Learning" in Rabat. End Biographic Note.