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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07RABAT1112 2007-07-06 10:45:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Rabat
Cable title:  

CCDH HEAD SAYS MOROCCO SEEKS ELECTION OBSERVERS AND HUMAN

Tags:   KDEM MO PHUM PREL 
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VZCZCXYZ0009
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRB #1112/01 1871045
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 061045Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY RABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6871
INFO RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 4464
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 3191
					C O N F I D E N T I A L RABAT 001112 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

PASS TO NEA/MAG

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/04/2017
TAGS: KDEM MO PHUM PREL
SUBJECT: CCDH HEAD SAYS MOROCCO SEEKS ELECTION OBSERVERS AND HUMAN
RIGHTS COOPERATION

REF: RABAT 905

Classified By: Ambassador Thomas Riley for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)


SUMMARY
-------



1. (SBU) Ahmed Herzenni, newly appointed President of the Royal
Consultative Council on Human Rights (CCDH), told Ambassador Riley
July 2nd that Morocco would welcome senior international observers in
the upcoming parliamentary elections. He did not, however, want a
flood of NGOs participating. He also asked whether the USG was
interested in providing financial support for the CCDH's reparation
and development efforts. Separately, Ministry of Interior (MOI)
contacts confirmed to poloffs that CCDH has an official mandate on
election observers, which MOI will facilitate. End Summary.

WANTED: MONITORS WITH "GOOD REPUTATIONS"


--------------------------





2. (C) Ahmed Herzenni, the new head of the Royal Consultative
Council on Human Rights (CCDH) received Ambassador Riley at his
offices on July 2nd. All agree that Herzenni has big shoes to fill
as he replaces Driss Benzekri, the founding President of the CCDH,
who died of cancer in May 2007(reftel). Halima Embarek Warzazi, a
member of the Council and former Moroccan Ambassador to the U.N., and
Abderrazak Rouwane, Chief of the CCDH Victims Protection and Support
Department accompanied Herzenni to the meeting. Herzeni confirmed
reports that the CCDH was asked by the King to manage international
observation of the elections. He told the Ambassador that he wants
to invite respected international personalities, such as former heads
of state with "good geographic reputations and moral authority," to
serve as part of a monitoring delegation.



3. (C) Herzenni said that the CCDH does not have a complete vision
yet for its management of the election observation process. He hopes
to have selection criteria for domestic and international observers,
and a list of potential invitees, by July 13th. Although he welcomed
technical support, training, and information from NGOs, he did not
want to throw the door open to a broad range of international
organizations to serve as monitors, as it would be difficult to
control operationally.



4. (C) Herzenni welcomed the Ambassador's indication of potential
USG financial and technical support for CCDH's observation efforts,
but asked whether such support required the inclusion of U.S.
monitors, or participation by U.S. organizations. Herzenni added
that Moroccan law does not yet allow the presence of non-voters or
observers unaffiliated with political parties at voting sites. The
King must still issue a decree to allow such activities. Herzenni
reiterated GOM's desire that the September elections be free and fair
saying that it is the "will of the King and his desire." The
Ambassador stated that organizations with technical expertise such as
NDI and IRI were already working in Morocco and could help election
observation efforts.

CCDH LOOKING TO PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE


--------------------------





5. (C) Herzenni said that in addition to current issues, the CCDH
continues the mandate of its precursor, the Equity and Reconciliation
Commission (IER) in resolving the consequences of the former
repression in the Hassan II era in three key areas:

A) (C) Reparations to Individual Victims of the "Years of Lead": 92
percent of the reparation cases are completed and CCDH expects to
finalize the remainder by the end of July. As part of this process,
the CCDH will sign an accord on the 5th of July with the GOM allowing
individuals with adjudicated cases access to free medical care
throughout the country for life.

B) (C) Collective Reparations to Communities and Regions:
Communities and regions that suffered from government oppression are
being targeted for special development funds and projects. These
projects have specific funds allocated to them by the GOM. Potential
projects include building an education center or clinic on the site
of a former prison, business development, and micro-enterprise
training for affected regions.
Herzenni said that the European Union contributed significantly to
this aspect of the CCDH's work and wondered if the USG could offer
financial or material support. The Ambassador stated that although
most USG assistance does not go towards building, there were
possibilities through existing programs.

D) (C) Resolving Cases of the Missing: Of the 300 missing persons
cases submitted to the IER and transferred to the CCDH, Herzenni
stated that 260 have been resolved through identification of bodies
or conclusive testimony. To resolve a case, CCDH investigators take

witness and participants' testimony and then try to find the missing
person's grave. A few individuals are reported to actually be alive
in other countries, but the CCDH has no conclusive evidence to prove
this; although they investigate all such leads. The 40 remaining
cases await resolution. The CCDH bought advanced DNA analysis
equipment for the Moroccan Gendarmerie and is paying for personnel to
be trained in France. When the technicians return from training,
CCDH will submit the final DNA cases for identification. Herzenni
said that some cases will unfortunately remain unresolved. The file
of the legendary activist Mehdi Ben Barka who disappeared in the
1950's remains of particular interest. He said that the CCDH is
reviewing the recently declassified CIA "Family Jewels" documents in
hopes of finding references to the case, and asked if the USG had any
other information.

CONDITION OF CURRENT PRISONERS AND GENERAL HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS:


--------------------------





6. (C) CCDH personnel visit prisoners and receive complaints of
mistreatment from the public. They refer such cases to the
appropriate ministries and monitor their resolution. CCDH also
serves as a central point of contact for receipt of human rights
complaints from the general public.

WORKING TOWARD A CULTURE OF HUMAN RIGHTS


--------------------------





7. (C) As part of the CCDH's mission to institutionalize a national
"culture of human rights" and ensure that the GOM does not repeat
past excesses, Herzenni and CCDH staff hold direct consultations with
the Moroccan diaspora. They ask Moroccan expatriates for their ideas
on the country's evolution, and their vision for its future. They
held four meetings in Morocco on this subject and visited Moroccan
communities in 30 countries; including the United States a little
over a month ago.



8. (C) Looking to the future, CCDH is working to implement the IER's
recommended reforms to promote judicial independence and
human-rights-based constitutional reform to prevent a return to
governmental impunity. CCDH members, and Herzenni in particular,
travel throughout the Arab world and other countries to relate the
Moroccan persepective on the truth and reconciliation process.
Herzenni said that, although Morocco should be justifiably proud of
its recent record with the IER and CCDH, it must be respectful of
other nations' unique contexts when discussing transitional justice.
He was careful not to criticize Algeria saying that, "their actions
are relevant to their situation." He welcomed advice, suggestions
and support, provided they were given with respect.
"Morocco is an old country, but young in the search for democracy and
looks forward to working in close partnership with the Embassy, USG,
and other countries and organizations."

AMBASSADOR EXPRESSES CONDOLENCES AND CONTINUED SUPPORT


--------------------------





9. (C) The Ambassador also expressed his personal condolences on the
loss of former CCDH President Benzekri. He underscored USG support
for human rights in Morocco and for CCDH's efforts. Through the
annual human rights report and regular interaction and dialogue with
GOM on human rights issues, Embassy Rabat will continue to support
the development of a human rights culture in Morocco.

BIO NOTE


--------------------------





10. (C) Ahmed Herzenni is the new President of the Consultative
Council for Human Rights (CCDH) nominated by the King on May 31, 2007
to replace the late President Driss Benzekri. He was Deputy
Secretary General of the CCDH's precursor, the Equity and

SIPDIS
Reconciliation Committee (IER), also previously presided over by
Benzekri. Imprisoned for 12 years during the "Years of Lead" for his
Marxist ideology, Herzenni was the first to testify during the
opening of the IER hearings. After release, he received a Ph.D. in
sociology from the University of Kentucky in 1994, specializing in
questions of rural and urban Sociology as well as education and
professional training. He consulted on several projects pertaining
to these issues for USAID, the World Bank, and the Moroccan Ministry
of Agriculture.



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