On Monday, the IRCT (International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims) submitted an expert review of the second medico-legal report (MLR) of alleged torture victim Mr Ali Aarrass, concluding that Morocco’s medico-legal investigation still fails to comply with international standards.
The review, which was conducted with the assistance of an expert from the Independent Forensic Expert Group (IFEG), finds that while the second MLR improves upon the first, it still falls short of the Istanbul Protocol standards in key areas. In particular, the review points out that the MLR’s conclusions on physical evidence are inadequate and the conclusions on psychological evidence are unjustified.
In 2011, the Rabat Court of Appeal ordered the first medico-legal evaluation of Mr Aarrass, who alleges that he was detained and tortured by the Moroccan police from 14 to 24 December 2010.
This evaluation was conducted by doctors from the Ibn Sina Hospital.
Upon the request of Mr Aarrass, in 2012, the IRCT then conducted an expert review of the MLR and found that it failed substantially to comply with international standards and principles on the investigation and documentation of torture and ill-treatment as set out in the Istanbul Protocol.
Relying on this review, in a decision on 24 June 2014, the United Nations Committee against Torture found that Morocco had not met its obligation to conduct a prompt and impartial investigation into Mr Aarrass’s allegations of torture. The Committee also expressed concern that confessions are commonly used in Morocco, particularly in cases of terrorism, and this creates conditions for torture and ill-treatment.
In response to the Committee’s decision, the Moroccan authorities ordered a second medico-legal evaluation of Mr Aarrass, which took place from 6 to 28 November 2014. It is this evaluation that the IRCT has reviewed.
The IRCT urges the Moroccan Government to take all necessary actions to comply with the 24 June 2014 decision of the United Nations Committee against Torture, which include conducting a prompt and impartial investigation following international standards.
To read the full expert review click here.