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The National Human Rights Council (CNDH) held, on July 8th, 2013, at its headquarters in Rabat, a press conference to present a study on forensic pathology in Morocco, entitled Forensic Pathology in Morocco: the Need for Comprehensive Reform”.

Commissioned by CNDH, this study is in line with the memorandums that the Council has published recently in contribution to the national debate on the reform of the judiciary (a memorandum on the Constitutional Court, on the Exception of Unconstitutionality, on the High Council of the Judicial Power, etc.).

Forensic pathology can help confirm/refute human rights abuses and violations of International Humanitarian Law. It can ensure the guarantees of fair trial. CNDH commissioned this study to contribute to the reform of this important area which is vital for the proper and good management of the judiciary.

This study draws attention to critical issues related to forensic activities and their close relationship with human rights, for victims, suspects or convicted persons, throughout the different stages of the judicial process. It analyzes legislations and regulations under which a physician can be appointed as an assistant to the court (forensic pathologist) and the legislations and regulations that supervise physician’s activities in this.

It seeks to identify, through the examination of the structures of forensic pathology and the profiles of doctors involved in such activities, the deficits and shortcomings of the national system of forensic pathology. The objective is to give relevant proposals and recommendations to the government departments to provide an institutional framework for forensic activities. A network of homogeneous, consistent and scalable structures and instruments (including monitoring and evaluation systems) is needed in order to meet the requirements of efficiency, safety and equality of all citizens before the law.

The study encourages good coordination between institutional and civil society actors to create a space for reflection where policies can be designed to promote forensic pathology and training in this area. It sheds light on the main provisions of international human rights law related to forensic pathology and gives a comprehensive review of all the relevant national laws.

An extensive field study was conducted in 8 cities. The current situation was analyzed rigorously to identify the key issues and challenges relating to the reform of the national system of forensic pathology. The study suggests a number of recommendations that can help reform this system. It calls for a comprehensive review of all laws and regulations governing the profession, the establishment of a national institutional framework for forensic activities, ensuring better integration of forensic activities in the judicial system, etc.