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Homage to Driss Benzekri

Driss Benzekri was born in 1950 in the village of Ait Ouahi, province of Khémissat.

He obtained the diploma of DEA in linguistics and literature from the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, Mohamed V University, Rabat, in 1983. While in prison, where he spent 17 years because of his political views, he managed in 1987 to earn the diploma of DEA in linguistics from the University of Aix, Marseille, France. In 1997, He got a Master degree in international law, option international law and human rights, from the University of Essex, England.

Benzekri carried out many researches and studies in different fields including “UN Missions and Activities about Forced Disappearance within the Frame of the Work Group” and “ Process of Setting Up the International Criminal Tribunal and Development of the International Criminal Code”.

He worked in many civil society associations. firstly, He held the post of vice president of the Moroccan Organization for Human Rights (OMDH). Secondly, He was the director of the Associative Space and a founding member and President of the Moroccan Truth and Justice Forum.

He was appointed Secretary General of the Advisory Council on Human Rights in December 2003. Also, he played a key role in making a recommendation relative to the continuation of settling the grave human rights violations of the past through the creation of the Justice and Reconciliation Commission.

The late leading human rights activist was nominated as President of this Commission in January 2004, after the said recommendation won the approval of His Majesty King Mohamed VI. He played a central role in laying down the rules, philosophy and conceptions related to the Commission’s missions: to reveal the truth, ensure individual and collective reparation, guarantee the non-repetition of the grave violations, install the basics of reconciliation and consolidate the country’s democratic process.

The deceased was appointed as President of the Advisory Council on Human Rights in July 2005. He actively continued to monitor the implementation of the Commission’s recommendations and to formulate conceptions relative to the other programs developed by the Council to enhance the gains achieved in the promotion of human rights.

Benzekri passed away on May 20, 2007, in Rabat at the age of 57.