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On August 27th 2005, Mr. Douet was driving home at night. His car was stopped by military police officers. 2 military police officers beat him up and arrested him. During his police custody, he was examined by a doctor (art.63-3 of the code of penal procedure) who found him “unfit for police custody“, due to his multiple wounds. Informed of the medical certificate, the prosecutor of the tribunal of Clermont-Ferrand ordered his release from police custody but didn’t open any investigation.
On September 5th 2005, Mr Douet pressed criminal charges for “aggravated assault” by filing a complain to the prosecutor. The prosecutor decided to close the investigation without charging any military police officers. On November 22th 2005, he pressed charges again by filing a complain to an investigative judge. On December 12th 2007, the investigative judge charged 2 military police officers.
On July 3rd 2008, the 2 military police officers were acquitted by the tribunal of Clermont-Ferrand. The prosecutor didn’t appeal the acquittal. On April 1st 2009, the appeal court of Riom rejected the civil claim for damages of Mr. Douet On July 8th 2009, the supreme court refused to hear his appeal.
On March 10th 2010, Mr. Douet filed an application to the ECHR on the ground that his beat up by military police officers was a violation of article 3 of the Convention. He added that the fact that he couldn’t appeal the acquittal of the 2 military police officers (art.497 of the code of penal procedure) was a violation of article 13. On September 29th 2011, the application was communicated to the agent of the French Republic with questions to be answered within 16 weeks. The applicant is represented by Me Jean-François Canis (Clermont-Ferrand) who didn’t answer our email for comments.
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.
On June 10th 1998, Mr. Kamel Ketreb was detained without bail in the notorious prison “La Santé” awaiting trial on assault charge. He was examined several times by psychiatrists. Despite his mental illness, he was placed three times in solitary confinement as a displinary measure. During his second placement in solitary confinement, he attempted two times to hang himself according to a doctor of the prison.
On May 20th 1999, he was placed for the third time in solitary confinement for 15 days. On the same day, prison guards pepper sprayed him in his displinary cell. On May 21st 1999, he showed his injured forearms to his sister and his t-shirt was covered with blood. On May 24th 1999, a prison guard found him dead, hung to the ceiling of his cell. On June 17th 1999, the prosecutor of the Republic of Paris closed his administrative investigation on the cause of death and didn’t request the opening of a criminal investigation.
On July 27th 1999, the sister of Mr. Ketreb filed a criminal complain to the investigating judge for “involuntary manslaughter“.
In January 2000, Doctor Veronique Vasseur published a book on his experience of 8 years as the chief doctor of the ethnically segregated prison “La Santé”. She described nightmarish condition of detention and the lack of access to health care for detainees suffering from mental illness. The book stirred such an outcry that a group of Senators opened a full investigation with public hearings and visits of French prisons. On June 29th 2000, they published an extensive report on the condition of detention in French prisons with alarming conclusions. It confirmed many of the findings that the CPT made following its visits of the prison “La Santé” in 1996 and 2000.
On April 8th 2008, an investigating judge sent the ex-director of the prison “La Santé” and the health care provider AP-HP to trial. But the prosecutor of the Republic of Paris, Jean-Claude Marin appealed the decision to the judges of the investigation chamber of the appeal court of Paris. On December 3rd 2008, the 3 judges of the investigation chamber dismissed all charges.
On June 3rd 2009, the applicants, sisters of Mr. Ketreb submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights arguing that the absence of health care in the prison and lack of surveillance of their brother were a violation of article 2 of the Convention. They added that the disciplinary measures of solitary confinement were a violation of article 3 of the Convention. They are represented by Me J. Bertrand (Paris). On March 29th 2010, the application was communicated to the agent of the French government with questions to be answered within 16 weeks.
On February 27th 2011, Mr. Jean-Marie Delarue controller of the French detention facilities refused to communicate us the report of his 2009 visit of the prison “La Santé” even though the French FOIA agency (CADA) was favorable to this release (2011/0462). Mr Jean-Marie Delarue is also one of 4 adhoc judges submitted by the French government to the ECHR.
On July 25th 2005, the Court ruled in case Siliadin v. France (73316/01) a violation of article 4 of the Convention. The Court found that the French government failed to its positive obligation to obtain the criminal conviction of a couple B. who kept the applicant, a minor from Togo in domestic slavery for several years.
At the 976th meeting of the Committee of Ministers on October 17th to 18th 2006, the French delegation announced that the articles 33 to 37 of law 2003-239 of March 18th 2003 were sufficient as a general measures to avoid further violation of article 4 of the Convention. Theses articles brought minor changes to the wording of articles 225-13 to 225-15-1 of the penal code on degrading working and living conditions.
On May 1st 2008, the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings of the Council of Europe entered into force in France. But the legislative measures adopted by the French government failed to define “forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery and servitude” and to establish them as criminal offenses in its penal code. Thereby, the French government failed in its article 225-4-1 of the penal code, to establish as criminal offenses the trafficking in human beings (art.18) and the use of services of a victim of trafficking (art.19).
On December 18th 2009, the French NHRI (CNCDH) released its Opinion on combating the trafficking and exploitation of human beings in France highlighting the failings of the French government to “ensure effective, adequate repression of trafficking and exploitation” and to “guarantee the effective respect of victims’ rights”.
In November 2010, the NGO Comité Contre l’Esclavage Moderne (CCEM) submitted its observations (see below) on the general measure taken by France to the Department for Execution of Judgments under Rule 9-2. Surprisingly, the observations were not published by the Department in violation of Rule 8-4. The observations showed the failings to obtain criminal conviction in cases of trafficking in human beings.
On January 19th 2011, the case C.N and V. v. France (67724/09) was communicated to the agent of the French government with questions on the measures taken by France to prevent violation of article 4 of the Convention. In this case, the prosecution failed again to obtain the criminal conviction of a couple M. who kept the applicants, two minors from Burundi in domestic slavery for several years.
The Department for Execution of Judgments has not yet made public the agenda of the 1108th meeting from March 8th to 10th 2011 in violation of Rule 2-1. It is therefore unknown if any monitoring of the general measures taken by France is going to be discussed.
Update (April 30th 2011) :
The Department for Execution of Judgments has recently released the observations of the NGO Comité Contre l’Esclavage Moderne (CCEM) with the “answer” of the French government who pretends not to have access to the prosecution files of 3 slavery cases.
On December 8th 2009, Mr. Pierre Henry Martzloff was extradited from Morocco and subsequently detained in the infamous jail of Fleury-Merogis located 30km away from the French capital.
The gigantic prison was opened in 1968 and is the largest in the European Union with up to 3,500 inmates detained. The condition of detention were horrendous but the Court took 26 years after the first complain to find a violation of article 3 of the Convention.
On October 7th 1987, the European Commission of Human Rights dismissed the case Breguet v. France (11550/85) for lack of answer of the lawyer Me Jacques Verges. The applicant was condemned to 10 days in solitary confinement in Fleury Merogis for having written in a private letter that the chief of guards was “miserable“. He complained that his detention in the solitary confinement in Fleury-Merogis was a violation of article 3 of the Convention.
On March 8th 1988, the European Commission of Human Rights ruled in case Theron v. France (11422/85) that the condition of detention didn’t attain the threshold required by article 3 of the Convention. The applicant who was serving a sentence of 8 days in solitary confinement, was condemned to 15 more days for having written in a private letter that the solitary confinement in Fleury-Merogis was “white torture“. The applicant described his solitary confinement cell as very dirty and the food as disgusting. He complained that his mattress was very dirty without linen, and that he couldn’t take a shower and change his clothes more than once a week.
On July 4th 2006, the Grand Chamber of the Court ruled in case Ramirez Sanchez v. France (59450/00) that the solitary confinement of the applicant for 8 years in the 3 infamous jails (La Sante, Fresnes, Fleury-Merogis) was a not violation of article 3 of the Convention. The applicant complained that his cell was in terrible condition with no private toilet, and that the yard for daily exercise was nothing more than a large cage. Surprisingly, the Court even found the condition of detention in the solitary confinement unit of Fleury-Merogis in compliance (§130) with the Recommendation Rec(2006)2 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the European Prison Rules. The Court had never visited the unit.
On June 12th 2007, the Court ruled in case Frerot v. France (70204/01) that the multiple naked strip searches of the applicant in the jail of Fresnes were a violation of article 3 of the Convention (§48). The applicant complained that he was ordered to open his mouth during naked strip searches in jail of Fleury-Merogis and upon his refusal was condemned to the solitary confinement unit. Surprisingly, his lawyers Me Christophe Nicolaÿ et Me Ludovic de Lanouvelle didn’t complain about the condition of detention in the solitary confinement unit.
On September 11th 2007, the online newspaper Rue89 released a plan and pictures of cells of the solitary confinement unit of the jail of Fleury-Merogis.
On January 20th 2011, the Court found in case Payet v. France (19606/08) that the detention in the solitary confinement unit of the jail of Fleury-Merogis constituted a “degrading and inhumane treatment” (§85) and therefore a violation of article 3 of the Convention, 26 years after the first application made by Mr. Bruno Breguet in 1985.
On December 18th 2008, the daily newspaper Le Monde released an extract of a 2h30 video of the regular unit of the jail, shot clandestinely by detainees. On April 2th 2009, the state television France 2 showed a documentary on the jail with 40mn of footage from the clandestine video (see below).
In the case Martzloff v. France (6183/10), the applicant complained that his cell is very cold because of broken windows, that he have to use the toilet in front of other detainees and that the communal showers are broken. According to him, the exercise yard lacks toilet and showers and is full of dead rats bodies. These allegations are confirmed by the clandestine video and the NGO OIP. On February 1st 2011, the application was communicated to the agent of the French government with questions to be answered within 16 weeks. The applicant is not represented by a lawyer.
In 20 years and during its 11 visits to France, the CPT of the Council of Europe never visited the largest jail of the European Union (except the young offender site located outside of the main compound in 1996).
On January 26th 2011, Mr. Frank Schürmann the representative of the Swiss confederation for the ECHR announced the selection of 3 candidates for the election of the Judge for Switzerland (2011-2020). This Judge will be the 5th for Switzerland in the history of the Court. He will replace Judge Malinverni (2007-2011) who took office on January 19th 2007 after being elected on June 27th 2006.
According to the appendix AS/Jur(2008)52 of the report 11767 of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Assembly, the previous selection process in 2006 was not respecting any of the 5 principles surveyed. There was no call for candidature in the specialized press. The selection process was not made public and lacked any formal legal basis. Moreover, there was no assessment of candidates’ linguistic abilities, no consultation with civil society bodies and no involvement of a panel of independent experts.
Therefore the previous selection process in 2006 didn’t meet the criteria of fairness, transparency and consistency required by Recommendation 1649 (2004) even though the representative of the Swiss confederation claimed the opposite.
On January 27th 2009, a Resolution 1646 (2009) was adopted by the Assembly (PACE) underlining “the importance of appropriate national selection procedures in order to ensure and reinforce the quality, efficacy and authority of the Court“, asking that “the selection bodies/panels (and those advising on selection) are themselves as gender-balanced as possible” and warning : “In addition, in the absence of a fair, transparent and consistent national selection procedure, the Assembly may reject such lists.”
The selection process in 2010 didn’t meet again the criteria. There was no call for candidature in the specialized press. The selection process was again done in secret without any formal legal basis. Again, there was no assessment of candidates’ linguistic abilities, no consultation with civil society bodies and no involvement of a panel of independent experts.
The call for candidature (see below) attracted only… 12 candidates. 6 candidates were removed by the government from the selection process. The gender balance of the selection panel is secret as the whole process. Interestingly, Mr. Frank Schürmann the representative of the Swiss government refused to communicate any document relating to this selection process and the list of the 12 candidates.
Switzerland is home to 8,500 lawyers and 1,089 professional judges but the federal council didn’t select any lawyer as candidate. Instead the federal council proposed 2 lower court judges out of its 3 candidates in violation with point 4.5 of Resolution 1646 (2009) which states : “if possible, no candidate should be submitted whose election might result in the necessity to appoint an ad hoc judge“. In 2006, the only candidate who was a judge Giusep Nay received only 13% of the vote of the Assembly.
The 3rd candidate, Ms. Helen Keller seems then the only real candidate of the Swiss government. After M. Walter Kalin (Switzerland) resigned for an unknown reason, she was nominated by the Swiss government for the election of the member of the Human Rights Committee (CCPR). On July 28th 2008, she was “elected” without vote…by being the only candidate (press release from Swiss govt). After being again nominated by the Swiss government, she was “reelected” on September 2th 2010 as one of the 9 members among 18 candidates. Her mandate will expire on December 31th 2014.
MP Priti Patel declared at the House of Commons that the public have referring to the ECHR judges “disdain for the unelected bureaucrats in Strasbourg“. Judge Jean-Paul Costa answered in an interview : “Well it’s not necessarily pejorative to be a bureaucrat or to be unelected..After all high civil servants are unelected bureaucrats..When I shave myself in the morning, I see my face in the glass and I don’t see myself an unelected bureaucrat.“
Whether or not the Assembly (PACE) will reject the list of candidates submitted by the Swiss government will be a test on the pledged commitment to a “fair, transparent and consistent” selection process. It will also have lasting consequences on the legitimacy of the Court.
On April 12th 2011, Ms. Helen Keller was elected by 103 members of the Assembly on 318 representatives (only 160 were voting). It will be her first position ever as a judge. In an interview to SwissInfo, Judge Keller declared that she will resign from being a member of the Human Rights Committee (CCPR) which will trigger the 3rd elections in the last 3 years for the U.N post (4 years mandate).
On June 24th 1996, the European Commission of Human Rights ruled the case Ramirez Sanchez v. France (28780/95) was inadmissible (see previous post), based on the “fact” that the abduction was carried out by the Sudanese authority so the Commission was incompetent ratione personae. The Commission also added that the rendition to France by French domestic intelligence agency (DST), was part of a “cooperation” between the French government and the state of Sudan which didn’t amount to a violation of article 5.
On January 10th 2006, the daily newspaper Le Figaro published an interview of an ex-agent of the French domestic intelligence agency on the abduction and rendition of Mr. Ramirez Sanchez. On June 28th 2006, the applicant pressed charges for “abduction” and “sequestration” to the investigating judges of Paris court. On May 3rd 2007, an investigation judge closed the case without opening an investigation. On September 24th 2007, the investigation chamber of the appeal court of Paris confirmed the refusal to open an investigation. On 2008, it was revealed that a CIA agent was also involved in the planning of the abduction and rendition of the applicant.
On February 25th 2009, the applicant filed his case (13019/09) with the European Court. On July 8th 2009, he submitted a brief [fr] arguing a violation of articles 5, 6-1, 13, 17 in conjunction with article 14. The applicant argued that his abduction was carried out by French agents of DST with the help of a local politician with no executive mandate. He added that his abduction and rendition to France were also planned by the CIA and were not the result of a judicial cooperation between States.
On September 28th 2010, case El-Masri (39630/09) was communicated to Macedonia by the 5th section of the Court with detailed questions to be answered within 16 weeks (art.3,5,8,10,13). The case regards the abduction of a German citizen and his rendition to Afghanistan by CIA agents.
Surprisingly, on December 16th 2010, Judge Karel Jungwiert (Czech Republic) of the 5th section of the Court deemed the case Ramirez Sanchez (13019/09) inadmissible. The registrar of the Court informed the applicant that no ground for the decision will be given and that they will destroy all files regarding the case in 1 year (see below). The applicant was represented by Me Coutant-Peyre (Paris).
On April 29th 1999, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights found in judgment Chassagnou and others v. France (25088/94 ; 28331/95 ; 28443/95) a violation of articles 1 of protocol 1 and article 11 in conjunction with article 14 of the Convention because the applicants were forced to belong to a hunting association (ACCA) and to let armed hunters and hunting dogs from this association enter their land.
The Court ruled a violation of article 14 because large land owners could be exempt to belong to the ACCA of their county and in the county with no ACCA, any landowner could refuse armed hunters to enter his property.
On April 25th 2005, the Committee of Ministers adopted resolution (2005)26 after being informed by the agent of the French Republic that the new article L422-10 of the code of environment will prevent new violation of the Convention as a general measure and satisfy the applicants as an individual measure.
On August 9th 2001, Ms. Simone Lasgrezas who was an applicant in judgment Chassagnou and others v. France (25088/94), requested to withdraw from the ACCA. On October 18th 2001, she was informed by the prefect that she won’t be authorized to withdraw from the ACCA before March 8th 2005 under article L422-18 of the code of environment. On October 31th 2002, the administrative tribunal of Bordeaux rejected her appeal. On June 27th 2006, the administrative appeal court of Bordeaux confirmed the judgment. On November 9th 2007, she lost her appeal (296858) to the administrative supreme court (conseil d’état).
On May 29th 2008, N.G.O ASPAS and the applicant filed an application with the E.C.H.R arguing a violation of article 1 of protocol 1, article 11 in conjunction with article 14 under the same ground as in 1994. On September 23th 2009, the application was communicated to the agent of the French government with questions to be answered with 16 weeks. On January 26th 2010, the agent submitted his answers to which the applicants answered (see below). ASPAS and the applicant are advised by Me Gregory Delhomme (Montelimar).
This application raised serious concern not only about the respect by France of article 46-1 of the Convention in the execution of judgment Chassagnou and others v. France but also on the ability of the department for the execution of judgments to verify the truthfulness of statement made by the agent of the French Republic to the Committee of Ministers.
On September 22th 2011, the Court found no violation of article 1P1, 11, 14 of the Convention on the ground the applicant could have withdraw her property from the ACCA…. if she had applied earlier in the year.
On May 7th 2009 at 08:50, Mr. Mosashvili was arrested for entering Monaco despite his administrative ban of the country (art. 23 executive order 3153 1964). He was placed in police custody for up to 24 hours under the control of prosecutor general (art. 60-1 of the code of penal procedure).
He was then brought the same day at 14:30 to the prosecutor general (art. 252) who issued an “arrest warrant” for his detention at the local jail (art. 162) for up to 6 days awaiting special speedy trial (art. 399). There is no provision in the code to grant bail to suspect or to motivate the “arrest warrant” for pretrial detention.
On May 8th 2009, he was brought to the tribunal and sentenced to one month in jail. On May 18th 2009, the appeal court rejected his appeal. On November 5th 2009, the applicant lost his appeal to the supreme court.
On May 4th 2010, he filed an application to the European Court of Human Rights arguing that the control of the police custody and the issue of an “arrest warrant” by the prosecutor general were violations of article 5-3 of the Convention. According to the applicant, the prosecutor general in Monaco being under the control of the executive branch, lacks the independence needed to have any “judicial power“.
He also complained of a violation of article 6-1 of the Convention on the ground that the supreme court allows the prosecutor general to submit his brief 4 months late in violation of article 479 and the prosecutor general is responsible of transmitting the briefs to the supreme court without any deadline (art. 485). The applicant was represented by Me Regis Bergonzi (Monaco).
On March 23rd 2011, Mr Philippe Narmino head of the justice department of Monaco revealed that he has been informed by an unknown source that the application was found inadmissible by an unknown Judge of the ECHR in February 2011.
On May 30th 2011, Mr. Erik Fribergh of the registrar of the Court refused to communicate us the decision as well as the name of the Judge who took it. On July 22th 2011, Me Regis Bergonzi refused to communicate us the decision because it was “vague“.
On March 29th 2001, the police department of Neuchatel refused to the Swiss Raelian movement the authorization to put posters from April 2th to April 13th 2001 on the ground of article 19 of the police department rules. This article allows the police department to forbid “illegal posters” or “posters threating morals“
On April 22th 2005, the administrative tribunal of Neuchatel rejected the appeal from the movement. On September 20th 2005, the federal tribunal rejected the appeal (1P.336/2005) on the ground that the interdiction of these posters was necessary “in a democratic society for the protection of morals“.
On April 10th 2006, the movement filed a case with the ECHR (see below) arguing that the interdiction to display their posters was a violation of articles 9 and 10 of the Convention. On May 20th 2008, the ECHR communicated the case to the agent of Switzerland with questions to be answered within 16 weeks. On September 9th 2008, the agent for the government submitted his observations answered on November 4th 2008 by the applicant. The Swiss Raelian movement was represented by Me Elie Elkaim (Lausanne).
On January 13th 2011, the E.C.H.R ruled by 5 to 2 votes there was no violation of article 10 of the Convention on the ground that the Swiss State benefits of a “margin of appreciation” about the use of its public space and the State has reasonable grounds to forbid the posters (59). The Court didn’t examine the allegation of violation of article 9 of the Convention.
In their dissenting opinion Judges Rozakis and Vajic expressed that the movement was not forbidden in Switzerland and should be able to promote by posters its ideas (3.a) and its non forbidden website (3.b).
On August 15th 1994, Mr. Ramirez Sanchez a citizen of Venezuela was abducted in Sudan and then victim of an extrajudicial rendition to France carried out by officers of the French domestic intelligence agency (DST).
From August 15th 1994 to October 17th 2002, he was placed in solitary confinement and transferred between the 3 infamous jails in the Paris region (La Sante, Fresnes, Fleury-Merogis) by decisions of the administration of the ministry of Justice on unknown ground.
On June 24th 1996, the European Commission of Human Rights ruled in case Ramirez Sanchez v. France (28780/95) that the abduction and the extrajudicial rendition to France were not a violation of articles 3 and 5 of the Convention.
On December 25th 1997, he was condemned to life in prison for the murder on June 27th 1975 in Paris of 2 officers of DST and one agent of an unknown agency, in unclear circumstances. From October 17th 2002 to March 18th 2004, he was transferred to the prison of Saint-Maur and placed in a normal unit.
From March 19th 2004 to January 5th 2006, he was again placed in solitary confinement and transferred again between the 3 infamous jails (La Sante, Fresnes, Fleury-Merogis) because he talked about politics to a journalist. From January 5th 2006, he was transferred to the prison of Clairvaux and placed in a normal unit.
On July 4th 2006, the Grand Chamber of the E.C.H.R ruled by 12 votes against 5 votes, in case Ramirez Sanchez v. France (59450/00), that the solitary confinement the applicant for 8 years (1994-2002) was not a violation of article 3 on the ground that… the applicant would have talk about politics with other inmates (§149). In solitary confinement the applicant was waken up every hour of the night by prison wardens (§95).
The Grand Chamber ruled also that the absence of a domestic remedy to challenge a decision of solitary confinement was a violation of article 13 for the first period (1994-2002). The applicant was represented by Me Isabelle Coutant Peyre (Paris).
For the second period (2004-2006), the Grand Chamber ruled that since the administrative supreme court judgment Remli v. minister of Justice no 252712 on July 30th 2003, the administrative tribunal was a “remedy” to challenge of decision of solitary confinement. It then didn’t find a violation of article 13 and didn’t examine the violation of article 3 because of this remedy (§113). Surprisingly, the Court didn’t examine the effectiveness of the remedy of the administrative tribunal even though the applicant was questioning it in its observations of October 3rd 2005 (§3) and December 30th 2005 (§3).
Mr. Remli was serving in solitary confinement a sentence after an unfair trial (judgment Remli v. France (16839/90)). The administrative supreme court judgment Remli v. minister of Justice no 252712 on July 30th 2003 ruled that the decision of …June 18th 1998 to detain the plaintiff in solitary confinement was “illegal” but it didn’t award him damages and didn’t find a violation of articles 3 or 8 the Convention. No disciplinary or criminal action were taken against the chief of prison following the ruling.
The remedy of the administrative court system is a lengthy one. It can take up to 2 and a half years for the administrative tribunal to rule on the legality of the solitary confinement decision (administrative appeal court of Paris, judgment 09PA05734 on October 14th 2010) which is not suspended pending ruling.
Although article 726-1 of the code of penal procedure (law 2009-1436) allows a detainee to file for an “urgent ruling” within 48 hours on the solitary confinement decision, it is constant case-law that the solitary confinement decision is inadmissible to be ruled within 48 hours (administrative supreme court judgment 337534 on March 22th 2010).
On February 15th 2006, the Commissioner for Human Rights Mr. Alvaro Gil-Robles stated in his report following a visit to French prisons in 2005 : “Prisoners placed in solitary confinement have no effective administrative remedy at their disposal” (§133).
On December 2007, the CPT stated in its report CPT/Inf (2007)44 following a visit to French prisons in autumn 2006, that for the remedy to the administrative tribunal to be effective, the solitary confinement decision should be admissible to be ruled within 48 hours. The CPT also found that detainees were not informed of their rights to appeal the decision (§157).
In September 2009, the 4th edition of the ministry of Justice “handbook for new inmates” didn’t inform about the remedy to the local administrative tribunal on a solitary confinement decision (see below p50).
On April 2010, the French N.G.O OIP stated in its observations to the U.N Committee against Torture : “Remedies against such measures are limited” (p21).
Surprisingly, on November 30th 2010, the Committee of Ministers ruled in its Resolution CM/ResDH(2010)162 that article 726-1 of the code of penal procedure and case-law administrative supreme court judgment Remli v. minister of Justice no 252712 were satisfying as general measures to prevent violation of article 13 of the Convention.
Recommendation Rec(2004)6 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the improvement of domestic remedies states : However, the remedy required must be “effective” in law as well as in practice; – this notably requires that it be able to prevent the execution of measures which are contrary to the Convention and whose effects are potentially irreversible; (..) the “effectiveness” of a “remedy” within the meaning of Article 13 (..) implies a certain minimum requirement of speediness.
In 2003 and 2004, the 5 applicants were all arrested on the suspicion to be members of the organization ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna). Within 2 to 4 days of their arrest, they were all suspected by an investigating judge of “membership of a group whose goal is to commit terrorist act” (article 421-2-1 of the penal code) and were ordered to be detained pending investigation.
On January 23th 2007, the investigating judge decided that they were enough evidence against the 5 applicants to go to trial. The 5 applicants were detained while awaiting trial.
On July 25th 2008, the investigation chamber ordered further detention for 6 months of the 5 applicants. On November 26th and December 2th 2008, the supreme court rejected the appeals of the 5 applicants (08-86233, 08-86234, 08-86230, 08-86235 , 08-86236).
On December 17th 2008, the 5 applicants were condemned respectively to 19 years, 10 years, 17 years, 6 years and 10 years in jail.
On May 25th 2009, the 5 applicants filed each an application with the E.C.H.R arguing that their detention of up to almost 6 years, pending investigation and while awaiting trial were a violation of article 5-3 of the Convention, that the fact that the 5 applicants chose to exercise their rights to remain silent justified for the French judges to extend their detention was another violation of article 5-3 and that the detention of the 5 applicants in temporary detention jails (maison d’arret) before and after their trial was a violation of article 8 of the Convention.
On April 21th 2010, the 5 applications (29119/09, 29101/09, 29116/09, 29095/09, 29109/09) were communicated to the agent of the French Republic with questions to be answered before 16 weeks. The applicants are represented by Me Amaia Recarte (Bayonne) who didn’t return our emails.
On July 1st 2008, Human Rights Watch released a report “Preempting Justice” on investigations and trials on terrorism charges in France. In this report, HRW describes the due process to order detention pending investigation “Presumption in Favor of Detention” (p27) and made recommendations to the ministry of Justice to “prevent unjustified lengthy pretrial detention” (p79).
On October 13th 2010, the ministry of Justice introduced Bill 2855 to the National Assembly (House of Representative of the French Republic) to reform police custody to comply with articles 6-1 and 6-3 of the Convention. On November 29th 2010, Human Rights Watch submitted a brief on Bill 2855 to the Legal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly.
Representative Philippe Houillon (UMP) submitted amendments proposals CL108, CL109, CL110, CL111 , CL117 (see below) to the Bill 2855, in order comply with judgment Moulin v. France (37104/06).
The amendments proposals CL108 and CL109 require that police custody are under the control of a judge instead of a prosecutor in compliance with article 5-1-c) of the Convention. The explanatory note of CL108 names this new control a French “habeas corpus“. But CL108 doesn’t comply with article 5-4 of the Convention as there is no provision allowing the lawyer of the detainee to file a release motion with the judge (Zervudacki v. France (73947/01)).
CL110 and CL111 require all detention in police custody over 24 hours to be ordered by a judge.
Lastly, CL117 makes mandatory to bring suspect before a judge if they are not released by the prosecutor following police custody. Unfortunately, this is not in compliance with article 5-3 of the Convention as police custody can last up to 2 to 6 days in France, and the time limit to be brought before a judge is not set.
Moreover, it could be the same judge who ordered the detention over 24 hours and who later control this same order.
Update : On December 15th, the Legal Affairs Committee voted in favor of amendments CL108 and CL109 but against CL111 and CL117. CL110 was removed by the Representative Philippe Houillon.
On March 28th 2003, Mr. Medhi Chesne was suspected of drug trafficking by an investigating judge. The same day, another judge of the tribunal of Orleans ordered the detention of the applicant for 4 months pending investigation. On April 17th 2003, the court of appeal of Orleans rejected the appeal of the applicant partly on the ground that the applicant refused to confess and that he was “a drug trafficker“.
On July 31th 2003, the court of appeal of Orleans ruled on the detention of the applicant’s partner describing her as “the partner of the main drug trafficker“.
On June 30th 2004, the tribunal of Orleans condemned the applicant to 13 years in jail for drug trafficking. On July 5th 2004, the applicant appealed the ruling. On October 18th 2004, the applicant filed a motion to recuse two of three judges of the appeal court of Orleans (article 668 of the code of penal procedure) on the ground that they participated on the previous rulings on his detention and the one of his partner.
On October 19th 2004, the motion was rejected. On December 7th 2004, the appeal court of Orleans condemned the applicant to 10 years in jail. On November 23th 2005, the supreme court rejected his appeal (case 04-87723).
On July 5th 2006, Mr. Medhi Chesne filed an application with the E.C.H.R arguing the appeal court ruling and the supreme court ruling were in violation of article 6-1. On September 8th 2008, the application was communicated to the agent of the French government.
On April 22th 2010, the E.C.H.R found a violation of article 6-1 for the appeal court ruling. The applicant was represented by Me Thomas Bidnic (Paris) who refused to answer our questions.
Under article 626-1 of the code of penal procedure, the applicant can now request from a special commission, a new trial to redress the violation of article 6 found by the E.C.H.R.
Mr.Nicolas Cocaign is suffering from a severe mental illness (schizophrenia). Following his release from jail in summer 2005, the prefect of Hauts-de-Seine ordered his detention in a mental health center. Nevertheless, he was again detained in jail (cf. Case Patoux v. France).
On January 3rd 2007, he was suspected to have killed one of his cellmate in the overcrowded jail Bonne Nouvelle in Rouen and eat a part of his lung. On January 17th 2007, he was condemned to 45 days disciplinary cell for “violence” to the deceased cellmate, under article D249-1 of the code of penal procedure. On January 22th 2007, the prefect of Yvelines ordered his detention in the mental health center “Centre hospitalier Paul Guiraud“. After 2 weeks of detention in the mental health center, the applicant was transferred to jail of Bois d’Arcy to complete his 40 days of disciplinary detention. He filed an appeal of this disciplinary sentence at the administrative tribunal of Melun.
On October 26th 2007, a court-ordered report by 2 psychiatrists established that the applicant was legally insane at the time of the murder, under article L122-1 of the penal code. Nevertheless, on June 24th 2010, the applicant was condemned to 30 years in prison by the criminal court of Rouen. No appeal were filed.
On July 17th 2007, the applicant filed an application with the E.C.H.R arguing that the disciplinary hearing commission ruled in violation of article 6-1, that the 45 days in a disciplinary cell, the lack of appropriate health care and the solitary confinement since then were violations of article 3, and the lack of remedies following a violation of article 3 in jail was a violation of article 13. On September 28th 2009, the application was communicated to the agent of the French Republic with questions to be answered before 16 weeks. The applicant is represented by Me Fabien Picchiottino (Rouen) who didn’t return our email.
On November 3rd 2011, the Court found no violation of article 3 of the Convention on the ground that the Court was not informed of the condition of detention in disciplinary cells (81). Surprisingly, the Court didn’t answer the allegation that solitary confinement for more than 4 years was a violation of article 3 of the Convention.
On January 16th 2000, Ms. Sonja Suder and her partner Mr. Christian Gauger were arrested following an extradition request from Germany for an investigation on crimes committed for political reasons from 1975 to 1978. The couple have been living in France since the 1980s. On March 22th 2000, they were both released.
On March 28th 2001, the investigation chamber of the court of appeal of Paris ruled against the extradition of the applicants to Germany on the ground that the crime committed from 1975 to 1978, could not longer be prosecuted under French statute of time limitation.
On October 30th 2007, the applicants were again arrested following a new request from Germany for the same investigation on crimes committed for political reasons from 1975 to 1978. On November 14th 2007, Mr. Gauger was released from thejail of La Santé, and on November 28th 2007, Ms. Suder was released from jail of Fresnes.
On February 25th 2009, the investigation chamber of the court of appeal of Paris ruled in favor of the extradition of the applicants to Germany. On May 27th 2009, the supreme court rejected the appeal from Ms. Suder (09-81731) and from Mr. Gauger (09-81732).
On July 29th 2009, the prime minister signed a decree of extradition for both applicants. On December 3rd 2010, the administrative supreme court rejected the appeals of both applicants (334683 and 334684) on the decree of extradition.
On October 22th 2010, the applicants filed two applications Gauger v.France (61393/10) and Suder v. France (61467/10) with the E.C.H.R arguing that the extradition of Ms. Suder (77 years) and Mr. Gauger who suffered a brain stroke in 1997, will be a violation of article 2,3 and 8, and that the new ruling on the new request for the extradition of the applicants was a violation of article 6-1 and article 4 of protocole 7. The applicants are represented by Me Irene Terrel (Paris).
In December 2010, the Court rejected the application for suspension of the extradition proceeding (art.39). On September 14th 2011, the applicants were arrested and extradited to Germany to be detained in prison.
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).
From October 3rd 2004 to November 22th 2005, Mr. Luc Lienhardt was detained pending investigation at the jail of Saint-Paul in the second largest city in France, Lyon. On January 19th 2006, a court-ordered report on the conditions of detention was released.
It was revealed that the jail was overcrowded to a critical point. More than 800 detainees were detained in that jail built for 360 detainees. The applicant was detained in a cell with 2 other detainees. The conditions of detention were appalling as shown is this picture taken in a cell with 4 detainees.
During his detention, the applicant suffered “brief psychotic disorder” for 3 months as a result of his detention. No medical treatment or therapy were provided to the applicant.
On March 25th 2008, the applicant filed a criminal complaint to an investigating judge for “torture” and “degrading treatment resulting from housing condition” (art. 225-14 of penal code). On January 20th 2009, the supreme court (Cour de cassation) ruled that article 225-14 of penal code didn’t apply to jails (case 08-82807). On September 18th 2008, the applicant filed a lawsuit at the administrative tribunal of Lyon for compensation for his condition of detention.
On February 17th 2010, Mr. Luc Lienhardt filed an application with the E.C.H.R arguing that his conditions of detention during more than 13 months were a violation of article 3 of the Convention, and that the lack of effective remedy was a violation of article 13 of the Convention. On June 2th 2010, the application was communicated to the agent of the French governement with questions to be answered before 16 weeks. The applicant is represented by Me Sylvain Cormier (Lyon) who didn’t answer our request for information.
The jail of Saint-Paul was definitely closed on May 3rd 2009. It was then revealed that more than 900 detainees were held in this jail in February 2008.
On December 6th 2010, it was announced that the administrative tribunal of Lyon awarded the applicant €2,000 for his 13 months detention in the horrendous jail Saint-Paul but declined to find a violation of article 3 of the Convention.
On September 13th 2011, the Court ruled the application inadmissible on the ground that the applicant didn’t appeal the judgment of the administrative tribunal of Lyon.
On August 31st 1984, Mr. Abdelhamid Hakkar was arrested in an investigation for the murder of a police officer in Auxerre. On December 8th 1989, the criminal court of Auxerre condemned him to a life sentence with a minimum sentence in jail of 18 years. On December 5th 1990, the supreme court (Court de cassation) failed his appeal (case 90-81761).
On June 27th 1995, the European Commission of Human Rights found in case Hakkar v. France (19033/91) a violation of article 6-1 for the length of the pre-trial investigation, and articles 6-1, 6-3-b), 6-3-c) for the absence of a defense lawyer during the trial at the criminal court of Auxerre.
On August 1st 1996, the applicant was transferred to solitary confinement at the jail of Villefranche-sur-Saône. He was refused his right to call his lawyer. On November 27th 1996, the European Commission of Human Rights ruled the application in case Hakkar v. France (30190/96) inadmissible due to the lack of exhaustion of domestic remedies for his allegation of violation of article 3 of the Convention due to solitary confinement.
On September 17th 1997, the ruling of the ECHR on June 27th 1995 was made public by the Committee of Ministers (DH (97)47) and on February 14th 2001 a final resolution ResDH(2001)4 was taken on the promise of the French Republic that a new trial will be organized in Spring 2001.
On November 30th 2000, the special commission of the supreme court (Cour de cassation) decided to open a new criminal trial in Nanterre following the ruling of the ECHR on June 27th 1995, “suspend” his sentence but didn’t order the cancellation of the ruling of December 8th 1989 and didn’t release the applicant. This was the first case to benefit from the article 89 of new law 2000-516.
On October 8th 2002, the E.C.H.R surprisingly ruled the application in case Hakkar v. France (16164/02) inadmissible because his allegations of violations are “manifestly ill-founded“. The applicant was arguing that his detention for 9 years in solitary confinement was a violation of article 3, his detention from the suspension of his sentence a violation of article 5-1-a) and the prosecution without having the previous ruling canceled a violation of article 4 P7.
On February 26th 2003, the criminal court of Nanterre condemned the applicant to the same sentence of the ruling of the criminal court of Auxerre on December 8th 1989. Following the appeal of the applicant, the criminal court of Versailles condemned the applicant on January 14th 2005 to a life sentence with a minimum sentence in jail of 16 years. On December 7th 2005, the supreme court (Court de cassation) rejected his appeal 05-80988.
On April 7th 2009, the E.C.H.R surprisingly ruled the application in case Hakkar v. France (43580/04) inadmissible. The applicant was arguing that his detention for 20 years was a violation of articles 3 but the Court didn’t respond to the allegation of article 3 without any explanation. He was also arguing that the lack of all the evidences exhibits at the criminal trial in Versailles was a violation of article 6-1 of the Convention but for the Court this was “manifestly ill-founded“.
On November 4th 2010, the appeal court of Toulouse mistakenly denied parole to the applicant a French citizen on the false claim by the prosecutor that the applicant need a work permit from the immigration office. This ruling is the 3rd appeal on the ruling of the tribunal of Tarbes on July 31th 2006 who denied him his right to apply for parole. The first two appeals rulings were quashed by the supreme court on January 16th 2008 (07-81289) and on March 18th 2009 (08-85870).
On November 5th 2010, the applicant began an hunger strike to protest the xenophobic ruling of November 4th 2010.
On November 25th 2010, the applicant filed an application with the E.C.H.R (below) requesting under article 39 the emergency review by the French Republic of the ruling of November 4th 2010 . The applicant is represented by Me Marie-Alix Canu Bernard. On November 26th 2010, he was transferred to an hospital after losing more than 10 kg in his ongoing 22 days hunger strike.
The applicant waited for 21 years for a fair trial on the criminal charges against him(1984-2005). He is now waiting more than 4 years for a fair trial on his parole application (2006-..).
At the hearing of November 4th 2010, the prosecutor advocated also the denial of the parole application because the applicant was still “passionate about his rights” in January 2010. The applicant and the ministry of Justice surely don’t share the same passion for the rule of law.
Update : On December 3rd 2010, the request for interim measure of the applicant under article 39 was denied.
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.
On April 13th 2005 at 14:35, Me France Moulin was arrested and searched in the tribunal of Orleans. She was placed in police custody and transferred to Toulouse to witness a police search of her office. An arrest warrant (“mandat d’amener“) was then issued by the investigating judge for her arrest. She was released from police custody in Toulouse only to be rearrested under the new warrant and detained in a local jail.
On April 18th 2005, she was charged by an investigating judge of the tribunal of Orleans and another judge ordered her detention in local jail pending the investigation. She was released on May 12th 2005 from the local jail of Bourges.
On October 13th 2005, the request of the applicant to have her case dismissed was rejected by the appeal court of Orleans. On March 1st 2006, her appeal to the Cour de cassation failed.
On September 4th 2006, she filed an application with the Court arguing that the searches of her clothes, her office and her bags were a violation of article 8 of the Convention, her detention in police custody for 5 days was a violation of article 5-3, and that the inability to be represented by a lawyer of her choice was a violation of articles 6-1 and 6-3. The applicant is represented by Me Patrice Spinosi who didn’t answer our email for comments.
On January 10th 2008, the application was communicated to the agent of the French government with questions to be answered within 16 weeks.
On November 23rd 2010, the Court found a violation of article 5-3 of the Convention on the ground that the prosecutor of the Republic is not an “officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power“. The Court awarded the applicant €5,000 for damages and €7,500 for legal fees reimbursement.
On May 19th 2004, the ECHR found in case R.L M.J.D v. France (44568/98) violations of article 3 and 5-1-c) for the violent and illegal arrest of a couple in their restaurant and their subsequent detention in the police station of the 5th district. The Court also found a violation of the article 5-1-e) for the detention during more than 6 hours of one of the applicant in the infamous “police infirmary“ (infirmerie psychiatrique de la prefecture de police aka IPPP) and violations of article 5-5 for both applicants.
At the 940th meeting of October 11th, 12th 2005, the Committee of Ministers was informed by the delegation of French Republic that since January 12st 2005, the police doctors have the power to order the release of the detainees in the “police infirmary“ . It added that during off-office hours an off-site police doctor can give the order by telephone.
Unfortunately, this statement is untrue. The detainees in the “police infirmary“ are held for 48 hours under the order of the superintendent of a police station (art.L3213-2 of the code of public health). Their release before the end of the 48 hours can only be ordered by a superintendent of a police station in Paris and not by a police doctor.
On May 5th 2010, a new bill on the rights of mental health detainee was introduced at the national assembly. This bill will not make any change to the article L3213-2 of the code of public health. The report on the bill don’t even mention in its case-law the case R.L MJD v. France.
The “police infirmary“ was created in 1872. It detains each year around 2,500 Parisians for up to 48h (source : Paris police department). But it operates clandestinely in blatant disregard of multiple provisions of the code of public health. It is not licensed as an health center regulated by the health authority (Haute Autorite de Sante) so it doesn’t have any authorization to admit mental health patients, deliver prescription drugs, hire doctors, keep medical files or to provide any health care whatsoever.
Furthermore, the “police infirmary“ has an administrative practice to not notify the detainees of the reason of their detention in violation of article 5-2 of the Convention, to not allow them to contact their lawyers or the judge in violation of article 5-4 of the Convention, to force detainees to be striped search and to ingest sedative drugs, to restrain them to their beds, all in violation of article 3 of the Convention and to coerce detainees to non standardized mental status examination and to keep medical records of them, both violations of article 8 of the Convention.
In addition, the Paris police department ordered on average only 40% of the detainees of the “police infirmary“ to be transferred in licensed mental health center (source : Paris police department), acknowledging the fact that 60% of the detention in the “police infirmary“ were detained in violation of article 5-1-e) of the Convention.
In March 2007, and again in June 2010, a bill to definitely close down the “police infirmary” was voted down by the Council of Paris.
The agenda of the 1100th meeting of November 30th 2010 shows that the monitoring of the execution of the judgment R.L M.J.D v. France (section 3) will take place at the 1108th meeting in March 2011.
The delegation of the French Republic didn’t answer our email for comments.
In 1978, Mr. Hassan Boutagni immigrated to France at the age of 11 years old. In 1994, he got married and his 3 children were born in France. He was a legal permanent resident of France and his parents, sisters and brothers are living in France.
On July 11th 2007, he was found guilty by the tribunal of Paris of helping youths to go to Syria to train with the terrorist organization GICM. His sentence was 5 years in jail and a life ban to stay in France.
On September 2th 2008, a deportation order to Morocco was served to the applicant who was detained in the immigration detention center of Palaiseau. On September 5th 2008, the E.C.H.R notified France that a suspension of the deportation order was appropriate until its ruling (art.39). On September 6th 2008, he was ordered to live in the department Manche under a penalty of 3 years of jail (art. L624-4 of immigration code).
The request to cancel the deportation order is still pending at the administrative tribunal of Versailles.
On September 5th 2008, the applicant filed an application with the E.C.H.R arguing that the deportation order to Morocco was a violation of articles 3, 8 the Convention. On November 13th 2008, the application was communicated to the agent of the French government with questions to be answered before 16 weeks. Mr. Hassan Boutagni is represented by Me Denis Solanet (Versailles) who didn’t answer our request for comments.
On June 25th 2010, the French government “promised” by a letter to the Court not execute the deportation order of September 2th 2008 and incidentally the future judgment of the administrative tribunal of Versailles. But the French government didn’t cancel the deportation order.
On November 18th 2010, the E.C.H.R surprisingly didn’t confirm the case-law Daoudi v. France (19576/08) by declaring that the execution of the deportation order will be a violation of article 3 of the Convention. The Court ruled that the issuance of the deportation order was not a violation of article 3 of the Convention because of the “promise” of the French government not to execute it. The Court also invite the applicant to request an interim measure (art.39) if the deportation order to Morocco was executed. No legal fees reimbursement was awarded to the applicant.
On May 4th and 14th 1971, the applicants sold a part of their land of the island of Porquerolles to the French Republic at a highly discounted price. The deed of sale contained a clause authorizing the applicants to extend buildings or build new ones on their remaining land. At that time, Ms. Le Ber wished to build balneotherapy facilities for disabled.
But on 1976 and on 1978, the applicants were denied any permit to build. They filed their cases with the administrative tribunal. After losing their cases in 1981 and 1983, they appealed to the administrative supreme court (conseil d’etat) but their appeals failed in 1984 and 1989 (53591), on the ground that they had to obtain damages from the judicial court.
In 1994 and 1995, the applicants filed their cases to the tribunal of Toulon. After losing their cases in 1999 and 2000, they appealed to the court of Aix-en-Provence but their appeal failed in 2005. They both appealed to the supreme court (cour de cassation). Their appeals failed on December 30th 2006 (05-18538) almost 30 years after the start of their litigation before French courts.
On April 24th 2007 and June 5th 2007, the applicants filed two applications (see below) with the E.C.H.R arguing that the refusal of building permit was a violation of article 1 of protocol no 1 of the Convention. On June 12th 2009, the application was communicated to the agent of the French Republic with questions to be answered before 16 weeks. Ms. Le Ber is represented by Me Laurent Coutelier (Toulon). The family Richet is represented by Me Pierre Brelier (Paris).
On November 18th 2010, the Court found a violation of article 1 of the protocol no 1 of the Convention. The court ordered France to pay €803,000 of damages to Ms. Le Ber and €712,000 of damages to the family Richet. No legal fees reimbursement were awarded.
On January 13th 2009, the E.C.H.R found in case Taxquet v. Belgium (926/05) [en] a violation of article 6-1 of the Convention on the ground that the ruling of the criminal court (“cour d’assises“) was not motivated. On June 5th 2009, 5 judges of the grand chamber accepted to hear the appeal of Belgium. On September 15th 2009, France submitted a brief (see below). On October 21th 2009, a public hearing was held by the Court [en].
On November 16th 2010 the grand chamber confirmed [en] the finding of the violation of article 6-1 of the Convention.
On September 25th 2008, the bill 4-924 introducing the motivation of ruling of criminal court was submitted to the Senate. On December 10th 2009, the senate voted the law which took effect on January 21th 2010. Under the new law, the defendant can only be condemned if the admissible evidences shows there is no reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. The grounds for the guilty ruling and for the sentencing, have also to be stated and an appeal to the supreme court is created.
In France, the rulings of the criminal court are still not motivated. In 2009, there was 3,345 rulings by criminal courts in France. The supreme court (Cour de cassation) ruled that the lack of ground was not a violation of article 6-1 of the Convention (cases 08-86480, 08-88112, 09-82459, 09-81.018, 09-82665, 09-85146, 09-86090, 09-84166, 09-87307, 09-88414).
The French government didn’t introduce any reform of the criminal court. In its threatening observations to the E.C.H.R, the French government argued that the grand chamber couldn’t find a violation of article 6-1, otherwise thousands of criminal court rulings will have to be quashed (34) and that the E.C.H.R didn’t have the capacity to make such decision (33).
On July 27th 2006, the E.C.H.R found in the case of Zervudacki v. France (73947/01) a violation of articles 5-1-c) and 5-4 of the Convention, for the detention of the applicant on June 12th 1997 in the tribunal of first instance of Nanterre . Following a detention of 47h45 in police custody, the applicant was detained for 13h30 in this tribunal before being charged by an investigating judge. The Court didn´t examine the allegation of violation of article 5-3. The applicant was represented by Me Helene Farge.
The Court found a violation of article 5-1-c) on the ground there was no law authorizing such detention. This case-law was confirmed in case Maire d’Eglise v. France (20335/04).
The Court found also a violation of article 5-4 on the ground there was no proceedings by which the lawfulness of this pre-charge detention could be decided and the release ordered if the detention was unlawful.
In February 11th 2004, the French parliament voted law 2004-204 which added articles 803-2 and 803-3 to the criminal procedure code. Under these articles, the pre-charge detention following police custody is authorized for up to 24 hours. This pre-charge detention is under the supervision of the prosecutor, in violation of article 5-1-c) according to a constant case-law of the E.C.H.R since 1979 confirmed in case Medvedyev v. France (3394/03) in paragraph 61-63.
No “habeas corpus” proceeding were created to allow suspects in pre-charge detention to have the lawfulness of their detention reviewed and to be released in case their detention was deemed unlawful.
But on the 992th meeting of 5-6 June 2007, the Committee of Ministers decided to close the monitoring of the execution of the case on the ground that the delegation of French Republic communicated to the secretariat an unpublished notice of the ministry of justice to prosecutors stating “that requirements of Article 5§4 can only be satisfied by bringing detainees before an investigating magistrate or a court“.
This notice of the ministry of Justice confuses obviously article 5-4 and 5-3 of the Convention, and clearly don´t answer the clarification asked at the 987th meeting of 13-14 February 2007 (“However, it is not clearly apparent that persons thus detained may bring the matter promptly before a judge for determination of the lawfulness of their detention.”).
Today there is still no “habeas corpus” proceeding for detainees in police custody or in the cells of a tribunal, to determine the lawfulness of their pre-charge detention. This leads to numerous unlawful pre-charge detentions of up to 3 days, as demonstrated by one recent example.
The agenda of the 1100th meeting of November 30th 2010 shows that the status of the execution of the case Zervudacki v. France is “6.2 Cases waiting for the presentation of a draft final resolution.“
The Department for the Execution of Judgments didn´t answer our emails requesting the communication of the unpublished notice of the ministry of Justice.
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).
On October 13th 2000, Mr. Vladlen Katritsch was charged with theft, document forgery and illegal stay in France. He was assisted by a Russian/French interpreter and an appointed lawyer during part of the investigation.
The applicant was then condemned in absentia at the tribunal of first instance of Compiegne and then at the appeal court of Amiens. He requested a retrial and to be assisted by a lawyer and a Russian/French interpreter. On October 23th 2006, the appeal court rejected his requests and refused to postpone the hearing. On October 24th 2007, his appeal to the supreme court (Cour de cassation) failed.
On April 23th 2008, the applicant filed an application with the E.C.H.R arguing that the lack of assistance by a lawyer and an interpreter was a violation of articles 6-1 and 6-3 of the Convention. On July 10th 2009, the application was communicated to the agent of the French government with questions to be answered before 16 weeks. The applicant is represented by Me Ruben Garcia (Paris) who didn’t return our email for comments.
On November 4th 2010, the Court found a violation of articles 6-3-b) and 6-3 -c) of the Convention. The court found no violation of article 6-1-e) because the applicant could speak basic French. The court ordered the French Republic to pay €3,000 of damages and €0 for legal fees.
Under article 626-1 of the code of penal procedure, the applicant can ask for a new trial to a special commission, to redress the violation of article 6 found by the E.C.H.R.
On July 10th 2001 around 6pm, Mr. Yassine Darraj a juvenile of 16 years old, was stopped in Bois-Colombes by police officers for an identity check. He volunteered his identity but was brought nevertheless to the police station of Asnieres-sur-Seine.
There he was arrested without charge. According to the applicant, he was strangled, beaten in the back, insulted because he refused to be handcuffed to a bench. He was then handcuffed hands behind his back and taken to a small corridor where he was beaten in the head and between the legs by 3 police officers.
Around 7pm30, he was transferred to the emergency room of Hospital AP-HP Beaujon in Clichy-la-garenne. An emergency surgery had to be performed during the night and his right testicle was ablated. In July 2002, the applicant was diagnosed with post-traumatic syndrome disorder (PTSD).
On September 27th 2006, the appeal court of Versailles condemned two police officers for unintentional assault (art. 220-20 of penal code) to a fine of 800 euros each. Under article 222-10 of the penal code, mutilation by police officer is punishable by up to 15 years of jail. On February 22th 2007, the legal aid office of the supreme court (Cour de cassation) rejected the application for an appeal. No disciplinary action were taken against the 2 police officers.
On August 3rd 2007, the applicant filed his application with the E.C.H.R arguing that the assault by the police officers resulting in mutilation and post-traumatic syndrome disorder amounted to torture and was a violation of article 3 of the Convention. He added that his detention at the police station was a violation of article 5-1-d) of the Convention.
On June 17th 2009, the application was communicated to the agent of the French Republic with questions to be answered before 16 weeks. On November 5th 2009, the agent submitted his observation to the Court. On December 21th 2009, the applicant replied. The applicant is represented by Me Eric Charlery (Coblence & Associes).
On November 4th 2010, the Court found that the mutilation of the applicant amounted to an inhumane and degrading treatment and a violation of article 3 of the Convention. The Court didn’t examine the allegation of violation of article 5-1. The court condemned the French Republic to pay €15,000 of damages and €4,000 for legal fees to the applicant.
On April 1st 2004, the Court found also a violation of article 3 of the Convention in a similar case (Rivas v. France (59584/00)). On January 14th 1997, Mr. Giovanni Rivas a juvenile of 17 years old, was ablated 2/3 of his testicle during an emergency surgery, following an assault by a police officer at the main police station of Noumea. On March 2nd 1999, the appeal court of Noumea acquitted the police officer charged with assault on the ground of self-defense.
On September 15th 2010, the Committee of Ministers close the examination of the case Rivas v. France with 35 others case in a single resolution ResDH(2010)122, by stating that the general measures described in infamous resolution CM/ResDH(2009)126 will prevent further violation of article 3 of the Convention.
On October 19th 2009, Mr. Tisset was arrested for a narcotic offense, by order of an investigating judge. The applicant was not informed of his right to remain silent, and requested immediately to talk to a lawyer. But he was denied any legal assistance during his police custody of 2 days and 17 hours, under a special derogation for all narcotic offenses investigations (art. 63-4 of the code of penal procedure). During this police custody, he made self incriminating statement.
Under art. 63-4 of the code of penal procedure, the suspects of narcotic offenses detained in police custody are not allowed to receive any legal assistance for the first 3 days of their detention. Under the articles 706-88 and 803-2, 803-3 of the code of penal procedure, these suspects can be detained for up to 5 days before being interrogated by a district attorney or an investigating judge.
The applicant filed a motion to dismiss his statement in police custody arguing that the lack of notice of the right to remain silent and of access to legal assistance while in police custody was a violation of articles 6-1 and 6-3 of the Convention. On April 1st 2010, the investigation chamber of the appeal court of Aix-en-Provence rejected the motion to dismiss, on the ground that the E.C.H.R case law regarding other countries was not binding for French courts. The applicant appealed the ruling to the supreme court (Cour de cassation).
On October 19th 2010, the supreme court ruled that the arguments of the appeal court were erroneous, but that the articles 6-1 and 6-3 of the Convention were suspended until July 1st 2011 for a “good administration of justice“. On October 20th 2010, the applicant filed an application with the E.C.H.R. He is represented by Me Patrice Spinosi who didn´t reply our emails for comments.
On January 121 2011, the applicant was found guilty by the tribunal of Paris. He appealed the verdict. On April 12th 2011, the Court found the application inadmissible on the ground that an appeal was pending and that the applicant could still be acquitted by appeal court. The Court refused to rule on the suspension of the articles 6-1 and 6-3 of the Convention, alleged by the applicant to be a violation of article 1 of the Convention.
It is unclear why the E.C.H.R ruled in less than 5 months on the case and if another application to the E.C.H.R will be admissible as the national remedy has already been exhausted on October 19th 2010.