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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.
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.
In 2010, the French preventive mechanism under OPCAT (general controller of the detention facilities) published reports on its visits of the detention facilities in the airports of Bordeaux, Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Strasbourg in 2009. They revealed an administrative practice of the French border police to temporarily detain some passengers arriving on flights from outside the Schengen area, prior to decisions on their entry into France.
The passengers are arrested at the passport control in the terminals but also at preliminary passport checks in the gangways (CommDH(2006)2 §193). These preliminary passport checks seems unlawful as there are not “prescribed by law”.
The passengers are then detained incommunicado in cramped police cells inside the terminals (CPT/Inf (2001)100 §50, CPT/Inf (2003) 40 §22, CPT/Inf (2007)44 §27) or locked in the terminals (CommDH(2006)2 §194, HRW Lost in Transit p16). They are not informed of the reasons of their arrest and of their right to have their consulate notified of their detention (art.36 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations). They are not allowed the assistance of a lawyer (CPT/Inf (2003) 40 §39). The border police don’t record the reasons and the time of these detentions and the ethnicity of the passengers detained. It was alleged that some passengers were locked in a terminal for up to 10 days (CPT/Inf (2003) 40 §40).
On June 25th 1996, the ECHR ruled in judgment Amuur v. France (19776/92) that the detention for 20 days of four asylum seekers in the terminal of the airport Paris-Orly, was not “prescribed by law” (§53) and a violation of article 5-1 of the Convention. On September 25th 1998, the Committee of Ministers found in its resolution DH (98) 307 that the law 92-625 of July 6th 1992 as a general measure, will prevent further violation of article 5-1. But this law only allows the detention of the arriving passengers once they are notified of a refusal of entry into France (articles L-221-1 of the code of migration and asylum).
Therefore, the detention of arriving passengers prior to a decision on entry into France, is not “prescribed by any law” (NGO ANAFE Note June 2010 p3) and a violation of article 5-1 of the Convention. The absence of information on the reason of the detention is a violation of article 5-2. The lack of detention record, of lawyer assistance and access to a consular officer forbid the passenger to challenge the lawfulness of his detention in violation of article 5-4 and to enforce his right to compensation in violation of article 5-5 of the Convention.
On July 14th 1998, Mr. Claude Baudoin was arrested for “assault” on a hospital security guard and then detained on mental health ground by the order of the mayor of Bordeaux. On July 16th 1998, the prefect of Gironde ordered his mental health detention. He was detained in the special detention unit (UMD) of the hospital Cadillac.
On July 28th 1998, the applicant submitted a motion to be released. On May 30th 2002, the appeal court of Bordeaux rejected his motion. On February 14th 2004, the president of the supreme court denied the applicant legal aid to appeal the decision.
In several decisions, the administrative tribunal and the administrative appeal court of Bordeaux annulled all the orders of detention from July 16th 1998 to May 17th 2004 which were giving a legal basis for 6 years of detention.
On August 13th 2003, the applicant submitted his case to the European Court of Human Rights arguing that his mental health detention was a violation of article 5-1-e) of the Convention, the absence of information on the ground for detention a violation of article 5-2 and his condition of detention for 6 years in hospital Cadillac was a violation of article 3 of the Convention.
He added that following his arrest he was not brought to a judge in violation of article 5-3 of the Convention, that the requirement to challenge his mental health detention both in administrative and judicial courts was a violation of articles 5-4 and 5-5, that the length of proceedings in administrative court was a violation of article 6-1, that the refusal of legal aid by the supreme court was a violation of article 6-1, that forced medical treatments and seizure of his letters by the hospital were in violation of article 8, keeping him in a detention ruled illegal by the court was also a violation of article 3 and the lack of remedies a violation of article 13. The applicant was represented by Mr Philippe Bernardet a sociology researcher of CNRS.
On July 8th 2005, the motion to be released of the applicant of June 2nd 2004 was rejected by the appeal court of Bordeaux. On February 2006, the motion of October 12th 2005 was again denied.
On September 27th 2007, the Court ruled that most of the allegations of violations of the Convention were inadmissible under articles 35-1 and 35-3 of the Convention on surprising and conflicting grounds. The Court ruled that the applicant was not arrested for “assault” on July 14th 1998 under article 5-1-c) so the allegation of violation of article 5-3 was inadmissible. This means that his arrest didn’t have any legal basis as there is no provision under French law for an arrest on mental health ground (art.5-1-e)) but the Court failed to acknowledge its own allegation of violation of article 5-1 of the Convention. Furthermore the Court ruled that the allegations of violations of article 3 and 8 of the Convention were inadmissible on the ground that the applicant didn’t submit them to the French courts. But the Court didn’t specify which remedies where available to the applicant and which case-law of the French court makes these remedies effective. The Court also found the allegation of violation article 5-5 inadmissible even though it took 7 years for the applicant to have an administrative court annulled the order of detention of July 16th 1998, and that he needed to start another litigation in a civil court to obtain damages following the administrative court ruling. The Court also found inadmissible the allegation of violation of article 5-1-e) for the mental detention of 6 years (except from October 21th 2004 to November 9th 2004) because the administrative court annulled all the orders of detention even though the applicant didn’t receive any damages for this illegal detention.
On November 18th 2010, the Court found a violation of article 5-1-e) of the Convention, on the ground that there was no order of detention from October 21st 2004 to November 9th 2004. The Court also found a violation of article 5-4 on the ground that the applicant didn’t benefit from a speedy and effective remedy . It awarded the applicant €20,000 for damages and €3,000 for his legal fees.
On January 12th 2010, the ECHR ruled in judgment Gillan and Quiton v. United Kingdom, that the “stop and search” of the 2 applicants, were not “in accordance with the law” because the power to stop and search under section 44 of the terrorist act 2000, was not subject to a requirement of “reasonable suspicions” (§86) and to adequate legal safeguards (§87). Therefore the Court found a violation of article 8 of the Convention and didn’t examine the allegation of violation of article 5.
The article 78-2 of the French code of penal of procedure, allows “stop” with no requirement of “reasonable suspicions”, to protect “public order” or on a road, highway near a land border, in airports, in train stations or in an area defined by an order of the local prosecutor of the Republic. Frisks and “volontary” searches are not allowed by law but widely practiced. The “stop and search” is not officially recorded if the citizen is not brought to the police station. It makes it extremely difficult for an individual to challenge a “stop and search” in an action for damages (art.5-5 and art. 13).
Furthermore, searches of vehicles on the road or in parking lots are allowed under article 78-2-2 of the code of penal procedure with no requirement of “reasonable suspicions” in an area defined by an order of the local prosecutor of the Republic. Police officers can even detain any individual stopped for up to 4 hours under article 78-3 for further verification if the individual can’t or refuse to prove his identity. The detainee is not informed of the legal basis of the “stop” (art.5-2) but can request in case of further verification, the notification of the prosecutor of the Republic and upon release a custody record. Under French law, there is no proceedings by which the lawfulness of this detention could be decided by a court (art.5-4).
In June 2009, the NGO Open Justice Initiative released his report “Profiling Minorities: A Study of Stop-and-Search Practices in Paris“, with findings of discriminatory “stop and search” based on ethnic profiling and made recommendations to the French authorities. No amendment were made to the law.
On June 22th 2010 the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in cases Melki (C-188/10) and Abdeli (C-189/10) that a section of article 78-2 was in violation of the Schengen Borders Code (EC) 562/2006 due to the lack of requirement of “behaviour and of specific circumstances giving rise to a risk of breach of public order”. No amendment were made to the law.
In conclusion, the French “stop and search” law raises serious concern of compliance with articles 5-1, 5-2, 5-4, 5-5, 8 and 13 of the Convention. The practice of discriminatory “stop and search” could add a violation of article 14 of the Convention to the previous violations.
In 1998, Ms. Marie-Claude Patoux was detained in a psychiatric ward following a personal conflict with her ex-doctor T. She became a fugitive after a temporary release at an unknown date. On December 17th 2002, she was condemned for a “premeditated assault with no bodily injury” (art.222-13 of penal code) on T. to 3 years of probation. In 2005, she was arrested again for “premeditated assault with no bodily injury“.
On March 29th 2006, she was arrested and detained in police custody being suspect of “premeditated assault with no bodily injury” on T. on the same day. On March 30th 2006, she was detained by an order of the mayor of Villiers-Saint-Paul under article L3213-2 of the code of public health. This order allows the detention for up to 48h, of patient suffering from mental illness who are “an imminent threat to public safety“. She was transferred to the notorious mental health center “CHI Clermont Oise” . On March 31th 2006, the prefect of Oise ordered her detention for one month in this health center, despite the lack of an eligible medical certificate, in violation of article L3213-1 of the code of public health.
On April 3rd 2006, the husband of the applicant filed a motion at the tribunal of Beauvais to have his wife immediately released . On April 26th 2006, the prefect of Oise ordered the detention of the applicant for 3 months. On May 14th 2006, the applicant became a fugitive for failing to return to the health center after an authorization of the prefect for a 2 days temporary release. On May 19th 2006, the judge denied the habeas corpus motion for release 46 days after the application.
On June 26th 2006, the applicant was condemned by the tribunal of Senlis to 12 months in jail for a “premeditated assault with no bodily injury” in 2005 and a warrant was issued for her arrest. On 30th July 2006, the prefect of Oise ordered the detention of the fugitive applicant for 6 months. On September 13th 2006, the applicant was arrested and detained at the jail of Beauvais pending trial at the appeal court of Amiens.
On January 31th 2007, the appeal court of Amiens ruled on the appeal. On February 5th 2007, the applicant was condemned by the tribunal of Senlis to 9 months in jail for a “premeditated assault with no bodily injury” on March 29th 2006. On October 17th 2007, the appeal court of Amiens condemned the applicant to a lesser sentence of 4 months in jail.
On May 19th 2008, the applicant was released from jail.
On August 21th 2006, the couple Patoux filed an application with the E.C.H.R arguing that the detention in the health center was a violation of articles 5-1-e) and 5-2, that the ruling on the motion for release from the ward was a violation of article 5-4, that the forced medication was a violation of article 8, that the applicant was not brought to a judge after her arrest in violation of article 5-3, and that the detention of the applicant in the jail of Beauvais with no access to health care, was in violation of article 3. They also complained that the rulings on the motion for release from jail pending trial was a violation of article 5-4. On June 30th 2009, the application was communicated to the agent of the French government with questions to be answered before 16 weeks. The applicants were not yet represented.
In June 2009, the national regulatory body for health centers (Haute Autorite de Sante) issued a report on the “CHI Clermont Oise“. It states that the condition of detention are degrading (21b) and that the patient consent into taking medications is not recorded (20a). A review was announced before November 2010. The mental health center didn’t answer our email for comments.
On April 14th 2011, the Court ruled that the wait of the applicant for 46 days before the judge rule on its habeas corpus was a violation of article 5-4 of the Convention. It condemned the French Republic to pay the applicant €5,000 of damages for n and €2,500 for the legal fees.
Surprisingly, the Court found the allegation of violations of article 3 due to the lack of health care in the jail of Beauvais to be inadmissible (art.35-1) because the applicant should have invoke these allegations in her motion to be release from jail pending trial (§58). The 5th section of the Court seems to ignore that there is no provision in the code of penal procedure to be released from detention pending trial, for health reasons or violations of article 3 of the Convention.
On April 1st 2011, the bill 400 was filed at the Senate to introduce a provision allowing judges to suspend detention pending trial on health ground.
The applicant was represented by Me Raphael Mayet (Versailles).
On March 29th 2010, the Grand Chamber of the ECHR ruled [en] that the arrest and the detention of the sailors of the cargo ship “Winner” by the French Navy was in violation of article 5-1-c) of the Convention. It was found that their arrest and their detention on the high seas for 13 days was not lawful for lack of legal basis. Controversially, the Grand Chamber didn’t find a violation of article 5-3 of the Convention by 9 votes against 8 because it was alleged by the French Republic that the detainees “met” an investigating judge within 8 hours of their arrival on French soil.
On November 25th 2010, bill 563 was passed by the National Assembly to introduce provisions in the code of defense in derogation of the code of penal procedure, for the arrest and detention on the high seas, of sailors on board ships which are suspected of drug trafficking, attempt of illegal entry in France or piracy.
According to new article L-1521-12 of the code of defense, no cause is needed for the arrest and detention by the French Navy of sailors and no judge is notified of their arrest. Furthermore, according to new article L-1521-14, their detention is deemed indefinite until a transfer to an “authority“.
Bill 563 is therefore in violation of articles 5-1-c) of the Convention for a lack of legal basis. The French Republic still didn’t take appropriate general measure to prevent further violation of article 5-1-c) of the Convention, so there is violation of articles 1 and 46-1 of the Convention.
After 2 days of detention, the French Navy may request a judge to authorize further detention. The judge have no right to access the military files regarding the arrest and the detention of the sailors, and no power to order their immediate release to their own ship, the nearest ship or a port.
If the sailors are finally brought to the French Republic, the lawfulness of their arrest and detention on the high seas will be only reviewed by an investigation chamber if their defense lawyers submit a motion to dismiss, within 6 months of their indictment (art. 170, 173-1 of the code of penal procedure). In the case of the detainees of the “Winner“, the chamber ruled 3 months after the arrival in France. In other recent cases, the investigation chamber ruled 9 months (case “Junior” CC 09-80157), 11 months (case “Ponant” CC 09-8277) and 12 months in (case “Carré d’As” CC 09-87254) after the arrival.
Bill 563 is in violation of article 5-3 of the Convention which requires an automatic, prompt review of the lawfulness of the arrest and the detention (§124,125 Grand Chamber judgment Medvedyev v. France (3394/03)).
Moreover, bill 563 doesn’t create a “habeas corpus” remedy for the detainees on the high seas in violation of article 5-4 of the Convention or an enforceable right to compensation for the victim of unlawful detention in violation of article 5-5 of the Convention.
Finally, bill 563 brings serious concerns about the protection of the detainees on the high seas against violations of article 3 and 8 of the Convention. The high sea detainees are held incommunicado with no access to a lawyer, a doctor, family members, delegates of UNHCR, ICRC and NGOs, and consulate officers (art. 36 of the Convention of Vienna on consular relations). The new article L-1521-13 allows only one mandatory examination by a military doctor within 10 days of a health check by a military nurse, itself within 24 hours of the arrest.
Even worse, new article L-1521-14 allows extra-judicial rendition to any “authory” of any countries. The rendition to countries known to practice death penalty or torture (ex: Somalia) will results in violations of articles 2 and 3 of the Convention and article 3 of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The rendition of detainee claiming asylum will be in violation of article 33 of the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.