Fiches Belges
Measure Implementation
Measure possibility

Legal Framework
Applicable Framework

Competent authority
Request/decision
Execute/recognise measure

Accepted Languages
Languages

Execution Deadline
Deadlines

Legal info
Special requirements
Other information

Fiches Belges: Franta

Audierea victimelor / reclamanţilor (707)

1. MEASURE IMPLEMENTATION

Franta

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

YES. Under French criminal law, a victim can acquire a specific status if he joins the action as a "partie civile" [i.e. a victim of a crime who joins a civil action to the ongoing criminal proceedings in order to claim compensation]. A victim can thus set in train a public action by making a complaint as a "partie civile" or by means of a private prosecution procedure. Once he has established himself as a "partie civile" the victim will be joined into the criminal proceedings. In particular, he will have the right to be assisted by a lawyer who will have access to the file and will be able to claim damages (compensation for harm resulting from the commission of the criminal offence). The obtaining of damages/compensation is facilitated by different mechanisms under French law. For further details see in particular articles 85 et seq. and 418 et seq. of the Code of Criminal Procedure and/or contact, at an early stage, the authority competent to receive and execute the request for assistance. Failing that, the request for the hearing of a person who is a victim will be treated in the same way as a request for the hearing of an ordinary witness (and the person to be heard will have the status of an ordinary witness and not the status of a "partie civile").

2. LEGAL FRAMEWORK

Franta

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 17 March 1978 and its Second Additional Protocol of 8 November 2001) • The Convention, signed on 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) • 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:

Franta

* 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 magistrate. 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

Franta

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

Franta

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

Franta

a. Special requirements

Regardless of the legal instrument on which the request is based: This relates specifically to a victim who has become a ""partie civile"". A victim who has become a ""partie civile"" must declare an address to the investigating judge (article 89 of the Code of Criminal Procedure). At his first hearing he is advised of his right to make a request (an application) for an act or to make an annulment request during the course of the judicial investigation and, at the latest, by the 20th day following the notification of the end of the preliminary investigation (article 89-1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure). Finally, a person who has established himself as a ""partie civile"" may no longer be heard as a witness. N.B. if the victim is a minor (under French law all persons aged under 18 years are minors) it is mandatory that the hearing is to be videorecorded (article 706-52 of the Code of Criminal Procedure). Furthermore, 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

The inclusion of a list of questions to put to the victim will facilitate the execution of the request and will enable more relevant information to be gathered for the requesting authority. The requesting authority may ask to be present when the hearing is conducted but they must request the permission of the requested authority in the body of the letter of request (see, in particular, article 4 of the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 20 April 1959). The requesting authority may not ask that the requesting investigators, judge or prosecutor conduct the hearing themselves.

Last reviewed on 6 iulie 2016 by Secretariatul RJE

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