On January 7th 2004, the minister of state Patrick Leclercq committed upon accession to the Council of Europe, to submit to the Monaco National Council a bill on police custody (Appendix 5, 1-A)in order to ensure the compatibility of Monaco legislation with the ECHR and its Protocols”. On October 5th 2004, Monaco became a member of the Council of Europe. On November 30th 2005, Monaco ratified the European Convention of Human Rights which entered into force the same day.

On December 26th 2007, the law 1.343 introduced articles 60-1 to 60-12 on police custody in the code of penal procedure. Until then, police custody was not regulated by any law. Under these articles, the detention of a suspect in police custody can only be ordered by a police officer (art.60-2) and is supervised by the prosecutor general (art.60-1) who can release the suspect (art.60-3). The suspect should be brought before the prosecutor general within 24 hours of his arrest (art.399) who can order orally his detention for up to 6 days pending trial (up to 4 days not including weekends and labor holidays).

On November 24th 2011, bill 894 on police custody was submitted to the National Council. The bill 894 introduced a new requirement for the prosecutor general to notify promptly the “freedom judge” of the detention of a suspect in police custody (art.2 of bill 894). But the bill 894 don’t allow the “freedom judge” to get access to the custody record, to control the conditions of detention, to rule on the lawfulness of the police custody and to release the suspect. Worse, the prosecutor general can still order the arrest of a suspect (art.157, art.261) and detain him without any of the legal safeguards of police custody (art.159). The lack of effective control of police and prosecutor general custody by a judge is a violation of article 5-1 of the Convention (judgment Medvedyev v. France (3394/03) §61).

Bill 894 doesn’t introduce any requirement to bring the suspect promptly before a judge to rule on the lawfulness of the police custody and if needed to order his detention pending trial, in violation of article 5-3 of the Convention. The prosecutor general shouldn’t perform these functions because he will prosecute the suspect (judgment Huber v. Switzerland (12794/87) §42).

Article 6 of the bill 894 confirmed the possibility to extend police custody up to 4 days on request of the prosecutor general (art.60-4). Moreover, Bill 894 doesn’t forbid in the same investigation several police and prosecutor general custody of a suspect.

In its visit of Monaco in March 2006, the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) met suspect unlawfully detained (CPT/Inf (2007)20 §30).

But Bill 894 failed to introduce a “habeas corpus” for suspect in custody in violation of article 5-4 of the Convention (judgment Zervudacki v. France (73947/01) §77). It also didn’t create “an enforceable right to compensation” for the victim of an illegal detention in police or prosecutor general custody. This is a violation of article 5-5 of the Convention.

Therefore, Monaco seems to fail to honor its commitment made in 2004 to ensure the compatibility of his legislation on police custody with the Convention. Monaco National Council will vote on Bill 894 in Spring 2012 after discussion in the law committee.

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