On November 4th 2010, the the ministry of Justice notified all prosecutors and judges of France (source : Me Eolas), that prosecutors were ordered to initiate together with local law enforcement officials, ex-parte meetings with judges about the suspension of articles 6-1 and 6-3 of the Convention for suspects in police custody.

According to the unclear wordings of the ministry, these ex-parte meetings seems to be organized to avoid that judges continue to dismiss interrogation transcript of suspects in police custody, for violation of articles 6-1 and 6-3 of the Convention. The notices also request all prosecutors to inform the ministry of Justice of any “difficulty” they might encounter while executing this order and of any judgment or court order which didn’t consider that articles 6-1 and 6-3 of the Convention were suspended for suspects in police custody.

The order to initiate these ex-parte meetings seems in full violation of articles I.2.d, V.1, V.3.b of the Recommendation R(94)12 of the Committee of Ministers to members states on the independence, efficiency and role of judges and of articles 13.b, 19, 24.b, 28 of the Recommendation Rec(2000)19  of the Committee of Ministers to member states  on the role of public prosecution  in the criminal justice system.

The content and the date of these ex-parte meetings between prosecutors and judges will not be released to the defense lawyers and to the public.

A breach of article 6-1 of the Convention (..everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal..) could then be found for all the proceedings in which a judge participated in such ex-parte meetings with the prosecutor.

The order to initiate these ex-parte meetings seems then in violation of article 1 of the Convention (The High Contracting Parties shall secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in Section I of this Convention).

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