Gdeim Izik trial

The withdrawal of defendants from the Gdim Izik trial is incomprehensible given the fair trial guarantees offered to them, international observers following the trial said.

"This is a serious decision since the defendants enjoy the opportunity to have a trial that offers them all rights and guarantees", international observer André Martin Karongozi told the press.

"What has just happened is a denial of all the opportunities, particularly those guaranteeing a fair trial where the accused were assisted by Moroccan and foreign lawyers. We don't understand the reason why the defendants decided to boycott the trial at this stage,” said karongozi, also a lawyer.

"As an international observer, I was expecting that the judge's flexibility would be crowned by a verdict that everyone expected but it wold not be the case after the decision of the defendants”, he added.

“Compared to other situations I have experienced as a lawyer in Belgium, Rwanda and even France, I realize that the judge has given enough opportunity to speak to all parties: the accused, the civil parties and the public prosecutor”.

For her part, international observer and lawyer at the Paris Bar, Ariane de Guillain Schmitt Guignon, stressed that “following an extremely trying hearing for magistrates, civil parties, lawyers and observers, the defendants decided to boycott the trial, whereas since the beginning of the trial all procedural guarantees have been offered to them”.

"The defendants asked for the hearing of witnesses and they had it. They also rejected some exhibits, and the President of the Court, here too, appointed experts to verify that these documents had been well communicated”. They also asked to be heard and their request has once again found a favourable response”, she added

“Everything has been done in such a way that the principles of adversarial and equality of arms are preserved and now they are deciding to boycott this process. It is a great shame, especially for the families of the victims”, she lamented.

For her part, Sylvie Ceccaldi-Guébé, honorary magistrate and observer of the Association for the Promotion of Fundamental Freedoms, affirmed that "the basic and universal rules of criminal procedures have been perfectly respected and the President of the Court has shown a mastery of debate and a remarkable patience”.

She added that “when a court is seized, it has a duty to make a decision. So, it is necessary to go to the end and I do not doubt that the verdict will assume the characteristics of the fair trial”.

As for the observer from the Association for Protection of Fundamental Freedoms, Boutin, he said that "the President of the Court stated that he would continue the trial under the same conditions as those prevailing at the beginning: a fair trial in which witnesses were heard and defendants and civil parties were respected. This is an embodiment of fairness”.

Meanwhile, representative of the Union of Arab Lawyers in this trial, Youssef Abu Hachim, noted that "the withdrawal of the defendants is an attempt to disrupt the fair trial that is taking place”, adding that this boycott means that the statements of the witnesses and the exhibits presented were not in their favour.