Berber Dahir

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Berber Dahir  (1930) 
by Mohammed V of Morocco, translated by Wikisource
The so-called Berber Dahir is a dahir (decree) created by French protectorate in Morocco in May 16, 1930. It was an adaptation of "Berber Justice" to the conditions of the time. This decree was signed by Mohammed V the Moroccan king at the time. The decree's original name is: The decree that manages the course of justice in the regions of Berber customs. — Excerpted from Berber Dahir on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
  • See the original French text at Dahir Berbère at French Wikisource.
Praise be to God,

Let it be known by this that our Sharifian Majesty, considering the dahir of our August father, H.M. the Sultan Moulay Yusef, on the day of the 11th September, 1914, has prescribed in the interest of many of our subjects and of the tranquility of the State to respect the traditional status of the Berbers. It is now appropriate to clarify the conditions in which justice will be done in the same tribes.

The following is decreed:
Art. 1. In the tribes of Our Empire customarily recognised as Berber, the punishment of crimes committed by Moroccan subjects[1], which is the responsibility of the Caids in other parts of the Empire, is the jurisdiction of tribal leaders.
For other offences, jurisdiction and enforcement are governed by Articles 4 and 6 of this dahir.
Art. 2. Subject to the jurisdictional rules that govern the French courts of Our Empire, legal actions, civil or commercial, securities or real estates are judged, as a first or last resort, at the rate which will be fixed by Vizerial Order, by special jurisdictions called customary courts. These courts also have jurisdiction in all matters of personal status and inheritance. They apply, in that case, the local customs.
Art. 3. The appeal of judgments rendered by the customary courts, where it would be admissible, is brought before the courts called customary courts of appeal.
Art. 4. In criminal matters, the customary courts of appeal also have jurisdiction in the first and last resort for the punishment of infractions referred to in paragraph 2 of Article 1 above, and also to all offenses committed by members of the customary courts whose jurisdiction is normally attributed to the chief of the tribe.
Art. 5. Along with each customary court of first instance or appeal is emplaced a government commissioner, appointed by the regional authority on which it depends. Attached to each of these courts is also a secretary clerk, who also fulfills the functions of notary.
Art. 6. The French courts sitting in criminal matters, under the rules of their own, are responsible for the punishment of crimes committed in Berber country regardless of the status of the perpetrator[2]. In these cases applies the Dahir of the 12th August, 1913 (9 Ramadan 1331) on criminal procedure.
Art. 7. Real estate which belongs to parties, either as plaintiff or defendant, who are nationals under the French jurisdiction, are the jurisdiction of those courts.
Art. 8. All rules of organizations, composition and functioning of customary courts will be set by successive Vizerial Orders, as appropriate and as required.
Set down in Rabat on 17 Hijjah 1348 (16th May, 1930); saw enactment and enforcement in Rabat, May 23, 1930.

The Resident Commissioner-General, LUCIEN SAINT.


  • ^1 . Irrefutable evidence that the dahir is applied without discrimination to all Moroccan citizens and had a territorial jurisdiction and not ethnic.
  • ^2 . The legislature was required to avoid possible legal challenges to the jurisdiction of French courts in the matter, to clarify that these courts had jurisdiction whatever the legal regime of the perpetrator (Orf or Chrâa), or his ethnic or religious membership.

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