Morocco has its first head prosecutor at a first instance court, after Rabha Fath Nour was recently appointed as head prosecutor at a Moroccan first instance court.
The appointment of Nour as the King's Prosecutor at the Mohammedia Court of First Instance is a historic first for the Moroccan judiciary system.
In spite of efforts made in the area, women remain heavily underrepresented in judicial positions.
Out of 104 appointments, validated by King Mohammed VI as head of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, six have been granted to female judges.
Rabha Fath Nour’s appointment, however, is not like the others. The position of King's prosecutor at a court of first instance has never been held by a female magistrate.
Rabha Fath Nour will be fully able to participate in all legal matters, as well as criminal cases.
The step on the long road to achieving gender equality will aim to meet the goals of provisions of Article 19 of the Constitution, and Article 65 of the Organic Law of the Superior Council of the Judiciary (SCJP).
The SCJP is the organization that is responsible for managing the careers of judges, and is bound by its laws to follow the principles of equality and parity.
Since the recent reform of the judiciary, the SCJP began announcing vacancies among women and offering them the opportunity to hold leadership positions. Prior to this, women judges were required to wait for a recommendation, which affected their chances for success.
Morocco had its first female judge, Zhor El Horr, back in 1979. Since this appointment, judicial positions are gaining greater appeal to Moroccan women.
Today, Morocco has over 1,000 female judges, out of a total of 4,175 magistrates working in the country’s courts.
According to data dating back to 2015, 836 of the women in the field were judges and jury members, while 164 operated as prosecutors or deputy prosecutors.
Despite women representing a quarter of the judiciary professional field, no Moroccan woman has ever been appointed head prosecutor in a first instance court.
Female prosecutors are often delegated as civil, commercial, and criminal prosecutors.
This new appointment will mean that the first instance court of Mohammedia will be fully led by a woman for the first time in Morocco’s history.
As a result, Field professionals are advocating for women to be allocated to at least a quarter of high-ranking positions in the field, proportionate to their presence on the field.
In order to manage the challenges ahead, Morocco appears to need to increase female representation in its judiciary, particularly at the top of the ladder.
Morocco World News reached out to Aicha Aitelhaj, a civil prosecutor and president of the Moroccan Association of Women Judges (AMFJ) for a statement on the matter.
The civil prosecutor described the new nomination as "a dream come true", as the association has been advocating for a female head prosecutor of a first instance court.
“Most female judges have been shown to excel in various judiciary fields, relating to commercial, civil or criminal cases. Yet they are still outnumbered in nomination and higher positions in the field,” she stated.
Female judges are applying to these positions in significant numbers."Those who applied for vacant positions and were not selected should have, at least, been suggested for the courts closest to them," laments the president of the AMFJ who recalls, moreover, that calls for candidacy were not open before establishment of the organic law 100-13, relating to the Supreme Council of the Judiciary.
Women judges have been proven to add a much needed personal perspective to their judicial actions and experiences, bringing a more comprehensive and empathetic perspective on cases relating to female struggles, such as sexual assault, harrassement, gender discrimination in the workplace, and the enforcement of the constitutional rights of Moroccan women.
Women judges are more likely to advance the legal protection of women’s basic rights in Morocco as well as on the global scale.
Not all women in the judicial field share this opinion, as some say that the law, being an impartial body, is meant to be applied regardless of the genders involved in the case, and those of the competent authorities.
Yet, female judges in several jurisdictions have already played an important role in addressing discrimination against women and violations of women’s rights.