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On August 28th 2001, the antitrust commission (Conseil de la concurrence) opened an investigation on the market of mobile network operators in France. On May 14th 2004, a report made by the consumer protection agency of the ministry of economy and finance (DGCCRF) was transmitted to the antitrust commission. On August 24th 2005, an article in the French weekly Canard Enchaine  revealed some information contained in the report.

On November 30th 2005, the antitrust commission condemned the mobile network operator Bouygues Telecom to a fine of €58 millions (decision 05-D-65) for violations of article L.420-1 of the code of commerce. On December 12th 2006, the appeal court of Paris rejected the appeal of Bouygues Telecom (decision 2006/00048) after receiving briefs from the ministry of economy and finance and the antitrust commission. On June 29th 2007, the appeal of Bouygues Telecom to the supreme court (Cour de cassation) failed (case 07-10303).

On December 20th 2007, Bouygues Telecom filed an application with the ECHR arguing that the lack of public hearing before the antitrust commission gave its decision, the submission of briefs by the ministry of economy and finance, and the antitrust commission during the appeal trial were violations of article 6-1 of the Convention. The applicant added that the leaking of the report to the press was a violation of article 6-2. On January 17th 2012, 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 Alain Benabent (Paris).

On May 6th 2008, Greenpeace France challenged the legality of the executive order 2008-209 at the administrative supreme court (Conseil d’etat). The executive order was taken by the French prime minister after receiving secret legal advice from unknown staff of Conseil d’etat, secret report from ministry of ecology and opinion 2008-AV-0054 of French Authority of Nuclear Safety (ASN). On July 9th 2009*, the private company AREVA owned, funded and controlled by the French Republic, submitted a secret brief “amicus curiae“*. On July 10th 2009, an hearing was organized on the case (no 315980) during when the “public adviser” submitted a secret brief*. After the hearing,  the ministry of ecology submitted a secret brief*.

On July 28th 2009, Greenpeace France was informed that a groundless decision was taken not to rule on the case until further notice. On March 22nd 2010*, a secret hearing was organized where witnesses didn’t testify under oath (art.R623-5 of the code of administrative justice). On May 21st 2010*, a hearing was organized and a secret brief* was submitted by the “public adviser“. On June 30th 2010, unnamed administrative judges released a decision dismissing the legal challenge of Greenpeace.

On September 22nd 2010, Greenpeace France filed an application with the ECHR (see below) arguing that the groundless decision not to rule, the testifying of witnesses who didn’t take the oath, the secrecy of the hearing of March 22nd 2010, the lacking of the transcript of the secret hearing, the refusal to communicate to Greenpeace France the 2 secret briefs of the “public adviser” were a violation of article 6-1 of the Convention. On December 13th 2011, Judge Villiger (Liechtenstein), Judge Jungwiert (Czech Republic) and Judge Yudkivska (Ukraine) ruled the application inadmissible as manifestly ill-founded (art.35-3-a) on the ground that Greenpeace France was acting “to protect the rights of citizens to live in an healthy environment” rather than its own rights. Greenpeace France was represented by Me Alexandre Faro (Paris).

*the date of the hearings and the existence of the secret briefs was not revealed in the Conseil d’Etat decision of the June 30th 2010 but only in the ECHR application of Greenpeace France.


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