Director of Global Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation, and Moroccan Expatriates, Ismail Chekkori, stressed, in New York, Morocco’s commitment to strengthening institutional cooperation in countering terrorism.
Intervening at the High-Level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of the Member States, as part of the Third Counter-Terrorism Week (June 19-23), Chekkori underlined that Morocco has always been a “strong advocate” of strengthening institutional cooperation against terrorism.
In this regard, Chekkori recalled that in 2022, in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), the Kingdom launched the “Marrakech Platform for African Heads of Security and Counter-Terrorism Agencies,” adding that this platform, which held its second meeting on June 2 in Tangiers, brought together over 38 heads of security agencies from African Member States and partner countries.
The Director of Global Affairs also explained that this platform serves as an annual forum to review achievements, priorities, and actions, while promoting inter-agency coordination and the exchange of expertise, noting that the platform is a “strong demonstration” of Africa’s commitment to a reliable and credible multilateral effort to counter-terrorism.
Noting that the Marrakech Platform is a successful model of regional institutional coordination deserving of support and promotion, Chekkori pointed out that this structure reflects three key characteristics of a successful counter-terrorism approach in Africa, notably promoting African ownership of personalized counter-terrorism responses and tailored solutions, facilitating the exchange of successful African expertise and intelligence, and aligning with the priorities of emerging counter-terrorism initiatives and efforts such as the “African Atlantic States Initiative,” the “Accra Initiative” and the “Africa Think Tank.”
In a similar context, Chekkori also pointed out that Morocco hosts in Rabat the Office of the United Nations Program for Counter-Terrorism and Training in Africa, the culmination of the fruitful partnership and collaboration between Morocco and the UN adding that this Office offers capacity-building programs that match the priorities of African countries.
The Moroccan official noted that “these programs, which are closely coordinated with the Moroccan security authorities, draw on Morocco’s experience in countering terrorism and the exchange of expertise with beneficiary countries,” in line with the High Directives of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, which focus collaboration and sharing of Morocco’s multidimensional national strategy.
In this regard, Chekkori noted that the implementation of this strategy is based on a series of measures to strengthen institutional resilience in the security, socio-economic, and religious fields, affirming that this approach mainly consists of developing an institutional framework through the enactment of solid anti-terrorism laws and the establishment of specialized bodies to implement national anti-terrorism measures.
The institutional framework must be strengthened through the adoption of robust anti-terrorism laws and the establishment of specialized bodies, such as the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ).
Chekkori referred to the experience of the BCIJ as an example of Morocco’s effective institutional response to terrorism, noting that the BCIJ is a specialized security agency affiliated with the General Directorate for Territorial Surveillance (DGST).
The Moroccan official said that the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) is tasked with investigating and prosecuting terrorism-related cases in Morocco, with jurisdiction over all acts of terrorism within the country’s borders, adding that the Bureau operates across the Kingdom, either conducting independent investigations or in collaboration with national and international security agencies.
In this regard, Chekkori stated that the BCIJ, as the judicial branch of the DGST, coordinates, before taking any operational measures, with the public prosecutor at the Rabat court, who has exclusive jurisdiction in terrorism-related cases, adding that this structure, made up of highly qualified investigators, intelligence analysts, and forensic experts, compiles intelligence, conducts investigations, and collects evidence against individuals and groups associated terrorism.
Chekkori also added that the BCIJ undertakes preventive measures to counter radicalization and detect online extremist propaganda and recruitment efforts by terrorist groups, noting that the Bureau also maintains close links with international partners to undertake joint operations against transnational terrorist networks.
The Director of Global Affairs described the BCIJ as a “successful example” of Morocco’s ability to resist and respond effectively to terrorist threats.
Referring to the four elements to be retained from the Bureau’s experience, Chekkori cited preparedness, which involves establishing solid plans, procedures, and resources to deal with different types of threats, intelligence and information sharing, coordination and cooperation, and the adoption of adaptive and flexible approaches that adjust strategies and tactics in response to evolving terrorist threats, by constantly evaluating procedures, technologies, and policies to stay one step ahead of emerging risks and challenges.
Chekkori also stressed that the national security agencies are open to working with reliable partners to achieve tangible results, reaffirming Morocco’s unwavering commitment to security and stability on the African continent.