Fiches Belges
Measure Implementation
Measure possibility

Legal Framework
Applicable Framework

Competent authority
Request/decision
Execute/recognise measure

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Execution Deadline
Deadlines

Legal info
Special requirements
Other information

Fiches Belges: France

Hearing witnesses: by telephone (704)

1. MEASURE IMPLEMENTATION

France

Is this measure possible in your Member State under International Judicial Cooperation?

Yes.

2. LEGAL FRAMEWORK

France

International legal framework applicable for this measure in your Member State

• The European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 20 April 1959 (as well as its First Additional Protocol of 13 March 1978 and its Second Additional Protocol of 8 November 2001) Please see, in particular, article 10 of the Second Protocol • The Convention of 19 June 1990 implementing the Schengen Agreements • The Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between the Member States of the European Union of 29 May 2000 (and its Protocol of 16 October 2001) Please see, in particular, article 11 of the Convention • Other multilateral conventions, in particular United Nations conventions, or bilateral conventions to which France is a party (not detailed in the information below) • When there is no provision for this measure in the applicable conventions or when there is no applicable convention, a request for this measure can still be made to the French authorities on the basis of article 694-5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

3. COMPETENT AUTHORITY TO:

France

* receive the request/decision for judicial cooperation

• On the basis of the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 20 April 1959 and its protocols and in accordance with the declaration made by France contained in the instrument of ratification of the Second Protocol deposited on 6 February 2012, requests for mutual legal assistance must be addressed by the requesting State to the Office of International Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters of the French Ministry of Justice. • On the basis of the Convention of 19 June 1990 implementing the Schengen Agreements (article 53), mutual legal assistance requests must be addressed directly to the judicial authority, i.e. to the competent public prosecutor or investigating judge. • On the basis of the MLA Convention of 29 May 2000 it is the judicial authority that has territorial jurisdiction which receives the request, namely the public prosecutor or investigating judge who has territorial jurisdiction (articles 695-1 et seq. and 694-1 et seq. of the Code of Criminal Procedure). The request can also be addressed to the Prosecutor-General, who will forward it to the competent magistrat (judge or prosecutor). Link to the directory of competent jurisdictions of the Ministry of Justice, listed by municipality.

* execute/recognise the measure (if other than the receiving authority)

• On the basis of the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 20 April 1959 and its protocols, in particular the Second Protocol, requests for assistance are executed by the judicial authorities which have territorial jurisdiction, namely the public prosecutor or the investigating judge, and they can then instruct police officers or investigation officers of the judicial police to execute the requests (695-1 and 694-2 and -3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure). • On the basis of the Convention of 19 June 1990 implementing the Schengen Agreements (article 53), it is the public prosecutor or the investigating judge with territorial jurisdiction who will execute the request for assistance and they can then instruct police officers or investigation officers of the judicial police to execute the requests (695-1 and 694-2 and -3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure). • On the basis of the MLA Convention of 29 May 2000 it is the judicial authority that has territorial jurisdiction which executes the request, namely the public prosecutor or the investigating judge who has territorial jurisdiction, and they can then instruct police officers or investigation officers of the judicial police to execute the requests (695-1 and 694-2 and -3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure). Whatever the applicable legal basis, if there is any doubt as to whether it is the public prosecutor or the investigating judge who is competent to execute a request, it is preferable to transmit the request to the prosecutor, who will forward it, if necessary, to the investigating judge.

4. ACCEPTED LANGUAGES

France

Accepted languages for the request/decision

A translation in French is not required (article 16 of the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 20 April 1959 and its protocols and the Covention of 29 May 2000 which simply complement the original Convention) but it is nonetheless recommended that a translation be provided, in order to facilitate and expedite the execution of the request for assistance.

5. EXECUTION DEADLINE

France

Deadlines for the execution of the request/decision (where applicable)

There is no deadline for the execution of requests for assistance in French criminal law. However, it is possible, in the body of the request, to ask for a deadline to be observed; such a deadline will, however, only be regarded as a general guide.

6. CONCISE LEGAL PRACTICAL INFORMATION

France

a. Special requirements

Regardless of which legal instrument the request is based on, the requesting authority can ask for certain particular procedural rules to be followed, in accordance with article 694-3 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which provides that such rules must not reduce or impair “the rights of the parties or the procedural guarantees provided by the present Code”. The request can be refused if it is likely to harm public order or the essential interests of the Nation, as provided by article 694-4 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Furthermore, such a hearing by telephone is only possible with the consent of the concerned person. If the request is made on the basis of the Second Protocol of the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 20 April 1959, the possibility of a hearing by telephone must be provided for under the national law of the requesting State (para 1 of article 10 of the Second Protocol). The request for assistance must contain “the name of the judicial authority and the names of the persons who will conduct the hearing as well as an indication that the witness […] is willing to participate in a hearing by telephone conference” (para 4 of article 10 of the Second Protocol). “The practical arrangements of the hearing are decided by common agreement between the Parties” and “when it accepts these arrangements, the requested Party shall: a) notify the witness […] concerned of the time and place of the hearing; b) ensure the identification of the witness or expert; and c) check that the witness […] accepts the hearing by telephone conference” (para 5 of article 10). If the request is made on the basis of the MLA Convention of 29 May 2000, the possibility of a hearing by telephone must be provided for under the national law of the requesting State (para 1 of article 11 of the Convention). The request for assistance must contain “the name of the judicial authority and the names of the persons who will conduct the hearing as well as an indication that the witness or the expert is willing to participate in a hearing by telephone conference” (para 4 of article 11). “The practical arrangements of the hearing are decided by common agreement between the Member States concerned” and when it “accepts these arrangements, the requested Member State shall: a) notify the witness or expert concerned of the time and place of the hearing; b) ensure the identification of the witness or expert; and c) check that the witness or expert accepts the hearing by telephone conference” (para 5 of article 11). If the request is made on the basis of the Convention of 19 June 1990 implementing the Schengen Agreements which does not provide for specific arrangements for the hearing of witnesses via telephone conference, please refer to the applicable arrangements contained in the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters and its Protocols.

b. Other useful information

None

Last reviewed on 6 July 2016 by EJN Secretariat

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