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Judicial information

Verified 16 avril 2020 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister), Ministry of Justice

Proceedings before criminal courts

Since 20 November 2020, criminal courts may amend the rules of procedure applicable to the cases they deal with in order to continue their activities during the state of health emergency. Changes may include:

  • Access by the public and lawyers to courts and courtrooms
  • Use of the single judge procedure
  • Conduct of the hearing or hearing by audiovisual means of telecommunication
  • Transfer of a case to another court of the same jurisdiction

These possibilities for amending the rules of procedure are provided for in Order No. 2020-1401 of 18 November 2020 .. They will cease one month after the end of the state of health emergency, on March 16, 2021.

Judicial information is the investigation by an examining magistrate to determine the existence of a offense, the perpetrators of the offense and whether there are indications against the person or persons involved. Judicial proceedings shall be opened at the request of the public prosecutor or on the initiative of a victim. The investigating judge has many means of investigation and constraints (warrants, pre-trial detention ...).

It is said that a judicial investigation is opened when an investigating judge conducts a criminal investigation. The criminal investigation is a phase of the proceedings during which the judicial police searches for the perpetrators and tries to gather evidence. The examining magistrate is a judge of the judicial court.

The examining magistrate may be seised by the public prosecutor or by a victim who lodges a complaint with civil party. A complaint with civil action allows the victim of an offense to initiate proceedings and, if successful, to sentence the offender.

Investigating judge

The investigating judge may be seised to investigate all offenses, whether crime, offense or contravention.. He must be seized in the event of a crime.

The competent judge to be seised shall be:

  • place of commission of the offense
  • or the place of residence of one of the suspected persons
  • or place of arrest of the suspected person
  • or place of detention.

Referral by the Public Prosecutor

The examining magistrate may be brought before the public prosecutor. The public prosecutor shall refer the matter to the examining magistrate following a police or gendarmerie investigation which has established an infringement of the law or following the complaint simple from a victim.

The Public Prosecutor shall refer the matter to the examining magistrate in a written document appointed indictment introductory.. This document indicates the offenses to be investigated by the judge and identifies potential suspects if known.

Referral by victim

The examining magistrate may be seised by filing of complaint, i.e. by a victim.

The investigating judge may be seised by the victim of an offense only in the following 2 cases:

  • The victim has filed for the same facts that filed without further action.. In this case, the victim must be in possession of the document of the public prosecutor entitled no further action..
  • No response has been given to a complaint filed for more than 3 months. In this case, the victim must be in possession of proof of his or her complaint of more than 3 months.

  FYI : a victim may refer the matter directly to the examining magistrate without first lodging a complaint in the event of a crime, press offense, defamation or violation of the electoral code.

Based on the civil party, the investigating judge shall fix the amount of logging.. If this deposit is not made, the complaint is not dealt with. The judge may authorize the civil party not to pay any. Persons who have obtained the benefit of legal aid for this procedure must not pay a deposit.

The complaint with the formation of a civil party is transmitted by the examining magistrate to the public prosecutor. The prosecutor must give his opinion on the need to start a judicial investigation.

The Public Prosecutor may request a period of 3 months or have the civil party heard before taking a decision.

The public prosecutor then takes requisitions..

If it is requisitions inform, the investigating judge shall initiate a judicial investigation.

These can be requisitions not to inform if there is no criminal offense or if the facts have clearly not been committed.

If the prosecutor considers that the facts were not committed as a result of the elements of the original investigation, he or she may make requests of non-place..

Finally, it may be requisitions refusal to inform in which the public prosecutor shall invite the civil party to bring the matter before the court by direct quote.. These are acts reported against a person of age by the victim, but for which the public prosecutor has not initiated proceedings.

The examining magistrate shall take into account the requests of the public prosecutor. If he doesn't follow requests not to inform, it shall order with the reasons.

The investigating judge has extensive powers of investigation. He instructs and dischargethat is, he must establish the offenses and determine whether persons should be prosecuted.

It may review people. He may also apply to the judge of liberty and detention for a remand..

The parties to the investigation (civil party, indictee, witness) also have rights. They can occur throughout the information.

Powers of the examining magistrate

Investigative powers

The examining magistrate is looking for evidence.

It may refer the matter to the police or gendarmerie by rogatory commission to conduct an investigation.

He can hear the people involved, the witnesses, organize confrontations, perform searches, make seizures.

He may himself carry out such investigative acts.

It may request expert opinions, for example DNA analysis.

It may also request the establishment of wiretapping or organizing surveillance operations. He can travel to the scene, arrange a reconstruction of the facts.

Review

If the examining magistrate considers that there are serious or consistent indications in respect of an accused person, the examining magistrate may review..

The accused may be assisted by a lawyer.

Witness

Any person who has been the subject of a complaint or has been implicated by the victim may be heard as witness assisted..

The assisted witness may be assisted by a lawyer.

Mandates

The examining magistrate may issue different warrants.

The purpose of the search warrant is the arrest by the police of an accused person in order to place him in custody..

The warrant of appearance is an act notified officially to a person to compel him to appear before the examining magistrate.

The mandate to bring a person before an examining magistrate is the order given to the police or gendarmerie to bring before the examining magistrate a person in respect of whom there are serious or consistent indications. This warrant may also be used to bring before a judge a person who has not complied with a previous summons.

An arrest warrant is an order issued to the police to search for, arrest and take a person to an arrest house.

Seizure of the judge of liberty and detention

The examining magistrate may refer an application to the judge on liberty and detention remand..

The accused may then be remanded in custody if the investigation is necessary.

The examining magistrate or the judge of liberty and detention, if he refuses to place the person in detention, may establish a judicial review.. The accused will then have to submit to obligations (e.g. not to travel, not to meet certain people).

The person may also be under house arrest under electronic surveillance..

Rights of the parties to the investigation

The parties involved in the proceedings and civil parties may be assisted by a lawyer. A victim who is not a civil party does not enjoy the rights of the civil party. It is possible to take part in civil proceedings throughout the procedure.

Person under investigation

The accused shall have access to the investigation file. After the first appearance, the applicant may request copies of documents from the file. Issuance must take place within 1 month.

It may ask the examining magistrate to perform certain acts (hearings, confrontations...).

It may request the annulment of certain acts by seizing query the examining chamber.

She may apply for release if she is remanded in custody or release judicial review or house arrest under electronic supervision.

The person charged may call orders issued by the examining magistrate. The appeal must be made by a declaration to the Registrar of the examining magistrate. This declaration shall be signed by the Registrar and by the Respondent or his lawyer.

The accused detained, must appeal to the registry of the penitentiary institution through a declaration of appeal form.

The Appeals Chamber of the Court of Appeal shall consider the appeal. It may confirm or annul the decision of the examining magistrate.

Witness

The assisted witness has access to the file.

He may ask the examining magistrate to perform acts (hearing, confrontation, transport on the scene, production of coins, ...).

The assisted witness may ask for the cancelation of documents of the proceedings (an interrogation record, a telephone call, a police custody ...). The cancelation is a query addressed to the examining chamber.

Civil

The civil party shall have access to the file. She may request a copy of the file after her first hearing. Issuance must take place within 1 month.

It may ask the examining magistrate to perform acts (hearing, confrontation, transport on the scene, production of coins, ...).

It may request the cancelation of documents of the proceedings (a statement of interrogation, a telephone call, a police custody ...). The cancelation is a query addressed to the examining chamber.

The civil party may call orders issued by the examining magistrate. The appeal must be made by a declaration to the Registrar of the examining magistrate. This declaration shall be signed by the Registrar and by the civil party or his lawyer.

The Appeals Chamber of the Court of Appeal shall consider the appeal. It may confirm or annul the decision of the examining magistrate.

The judicial investigation ends when the investigation is completed. The examining magistrate shall give his decision in a settlement order.. This order is notified parties who have the right to appeal.

Settlement order

On the basis of the evidence gathered, the examining magistrate shall issue an order for dismissal or referral to the court.

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Non-place

The examining magistrate shall issue an order of dismissal in the following cases:

  • Facts do not constitute a offense
  • No identified offender
  • No sufficient charges, i.e. sufficient evidence, against the accused
  • The accused acted in good standing self-defense.. The order for dismissal must then specify the charges establishing the facts committed by the accused and their implications for the victim. The victim may seek compensation in civil proceedings.
  • The defendant dies. The order of dismissal must specify the evidence establishing the facts committed by the defendant and their implications.

The public prosecutor may request the reopening of the judicial investigation if new evidence emerges.

Referral

If the information establishes that an offense has been committed, the examining magistrate shall issue an order of referral to the competent court to try the offense.

  • In the event of a contravention, the matter is referred to the police court

Notification of order

The order shall be notified to the parties verbally, with the document filed or against receipt, or by registered letter.

Appeal against the order

The accused and the civil party or their lawyers may appeal the settlement orders.

The appeal period is 10 days.

The statement of appeal shall be made to the Registrar of the court which issued the decision (or to the Registry of the remand center if the accused is detained).

The Appeals Chamber of the Court of Appeal shall hear the appeal.