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Fiches Belges
Measure Implementation
Measure possibility

Legal Framework
Applicable Framework

Competent authority
Execute/recognise measure

Accepted Languages

Execution Deadline

Legal info
Special requirements
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Fiches Belges: France

Observation (105)



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

In French criminal law, videosurveillance is the measure enabling the transmission and recording of images taken on public roads and in places and establishments that are open to the public. The legislation which relates to videosurveillance is Act number 95-73 of 21 January 1995 and Decree number 96-926 of 17 October 1996. The placing of videosurveillance equipment is subject to the authorisation of the representative of the State in the department (the Prefect, or, in Paris, the Police Prefect) which is given, except in cases of national defence, following the advice of a departmental commission, presided over by a sitting judge or an honorary judge. The placing of imaging equipment in a private place can be decided upon by the judicial authority in the context of a judicial investigation for a limited number of particular offences relating to organised crime (article 706-73 of the Code of Criminal Procedure). To distinguish this from other observation measures: - There are also other forms of observation (surveillance, the deployment of undercover officers) which are carried out under officer-to-officer law enforcement cooperation, not under a letter of request for mutual legal assistance. - In order to undertake the physical surveillance of an individual who is crossing the border, investigators must seek, at the request of a judicial authority (with the exception of the UK National Crime Agency - NCA), via Interpol, an authorisation for ordinary cross-border observation (OTO) or for urgent cross-border observation (OTU) (please see the separate Fiche belge on that subject). - As regards the surveillance of a vehicle fitted with a tracking device which is expected to cross the border, whereas under domestic (national) law the decision to fit a tracking device to a vehicle is a matter for the judicial authority, at international level such a measure requires the transmission of a letter of request for mutual legal assistance (please see the separate Fiche belge on that subject).



International legal framework applicable for this measure in your Member State

European Parliament and Council Directive 95/46/CE of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data (transposed into French law by the Act of 6 August 2004 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data). There is no specific convention in relation to this matter but in accordance with the Convention of 29 May 2000, States shall afford one another mutual assistance to the widest extent possible.



* receive the request/decision for judicial cooperation

The placing of a video-surveillance device cannot be requested under mutual legal assistance. The communication of images recorded in a public place and potentially also saved can be requested under mutual legal assistance. The competent authority to receive the request/decision for judicial cooperation is the public prosecutor with territorial jurisdiction. The competent authority to execute/recognise the measure is the police service or the gendarmerie (police) designated by the public prosecutor to execute the request. As regards the making of images in a private place without the knowledge or consent of the person concerned in a matter of organised crime (offences set out in article 706-73 and 706-73-1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure): - The competent authority to receive the request/decision for judicial cooperation is the investigating judge, following the advice of the public prosecutor, in accordance with article 706-96 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. If the place in question is a place of residence and the operation needs to take place outside of the hours set out in article 59 (6.00 hrs - 21.00 hrs), this authorisation is delivered by the liberty and custody judge. The matter is referred to the liberty and custody judge for this purpose by the investigating judge. - The competent authority to execute/recognise the measure are the officers and the judicial police officers designated to execute the letter of request. These operations are conducted under the authority and control of the investigating judge.

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

Please see above



Accepted languages for the request/decision

A translation in French is not a requirement, but it is recommended that a French translation be provided in order to facilitate and expedite the execution of the request for assistance.



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.



a. Special requirements

The measure is executed in accordance with the French Code of Criminal Procedure. In the absence of a bilateral or multilateral convention which provides to the contrary, 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.

b. Other useful information


Last reviewed on 6 juillet 2016 by Secrétariat du RJE

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