Case of European Court of Human Rights, November 23, 2010 (case Moulin v. France)

Resolution Date:November 23, 2010

Remainder inadmissible Violation of Art. 5-3 Non-pecuniary damage - award


Information Note on the Court’s case-law No. 135

November 2010

Moulin v. France - 37104/06

Judgment 23.11.2010 [Section V]

Article 5

Article 5-3

Brought promptly before judge or other officer

Detainee brought before public prosecutor who was under authority of executive and parties: violation

Facts – Ms Moulin, a lawyer in Toulouse, was arrested in Orléans on 13 April 2005 and taken into police custody. She was then taken to Toulouse, where her office was searched in the presence of two investigating judges from Orléans. As those judges were acting outside the area of their territorial jurisdiction, on 14 April her police custody was extended by an investigating judge, who did not take evidence from her in person in order to examine the merits of her detention. The police custody ended on 15 April 2005 when the applicant was brought before the Toulouse deputy public prosecutor, who ordered her detention with a view to her subsequent transfer to appear before the investigating judges in Orléans. On 18 April 2005 she made a first appearance for questioning before the latter, who placed her under formal investigation. The applicant was remanded in custody.

Law – Article 5 § 3: From the time the applicant had been taken into police custody on 13 April 2005 until she was brought before the two investigating judges on 18 April 2005 for “first appearance” questioning, no evidence had been taken from the applicant in person by investigating judges with a view to considering the merits of her detention. That time of more than five days had fallen within the period immediately following her arrest, during which the applicant had been in the hands of the authorities. The applicant had then been taken before the deputy public prosecutor on 15 April 2005, after the end of her police custody. Deputy prosecutors, who were not irremovable, were members of the ministère public (prosecuting authorities) under the authority of the Minister of Justice, a member of government, and therefore that of the executive. The hierarchical relationship between the Minister of Justice and the prosecuting authorities was currently a subject of debate in France. However, it was not for the Court to take a stance in a debate which was a matter for the domestic authorities. For its own purposes, the Court took the view that, owing to their status as just mentioned, public prosecutors in...

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