They will not be launched in a judicial enclosure, but at the Palais des Congrès in Poitiers (Vienne). Emmanuel Macron will open the States General of Justice, announced in June, Monday, October 18. The president thus responds to a request made by Chantal Arens, first president of the Court of Cassation, and François Molins, the Attorney General at the Court of Cassation. In the midst of a controversy after a more lenient verdict on appeal in the case of the burnt police officers in Viry-Châtillon and the confirmation of the criminal irresponsibility of the murderer of Sarah Halimi, the two highest magistrates in France had expressed concern about the “systematic questioning of justice”, criticized for its slowness and accused of laxity by police unions and political leaders.
However, these States General are criticized even before their launch. Their schedule, above all, is called into question. Franceinfo explains why.
Because they arrive late in the quinquennium
These States General will have to develop proposals for “put back to flat” the system. They will bring together for several months, in working groups, the entire justice ecosystem: judges, prosecutors, clerks, auxiliaries, lawyers, bailiffs, prison supervisors, as well as volunteer citizens.
If their vocation is to restore confidence between the French and the judiciary – 68% of them believe justice “too lax”, according to a recent CSA survey – not sure that they are sufficient to reweave the links between the magistrates and the head of state.
As pointed out The world, Emmanuel Macron will have waited until the end of his mandate to deliver a speech giving his vision of justice, so that no less than three bills, including a programming law over five years, were brought by his successive Keepers of the Seals. The appointment of the latest, Eric Dupond-Moretti, remains the most media act of the president in the field of justice, recalls Le Figaro. A decision very badly received by the judicial world and the magistrates’ unions, who obtained the indictment in July of the former lawyer for “illegal taking of interests”.
Do these States General aim to ring the hour for reconciliation? No, according to confidences distilled in the press. According to the Politico news site, Emmanuel Macron believes that he has already made a substantial effort for the justice budget – up 33% over five years with 650 magistrates recruited – and that it is time to hand over the judges in their place. “The sub-text will be: ‘you are not in self-management'”, slips an adviser of the executive to Politico.
Because some fear political recovery before the presidential election
If the calendar of these States General questions, it is also because they are located six months from the presidential election. To guard against this criticism, the presidency has promised that they will be organized in complete independence from the executive. The consultations which will take place throughout France will be piloted by an independent commission, chaired by the senior official Jean-Marc Sauvé, already at the head of the commission of inquiry into the sexual abuse of minors in the Church.
This commission will also include the two senior magistrates Chantal Arens and François Molins, as well as the chairmen of the legislative committees of the Assembly and the Senate, to ensure a “transpartisan”, specifies the Elysee to AFP. At the most, Emmanuel Macron will be able to “draw” among the proposals likely to “interest him”, “in the same way as all the other candidates”, we assure at the Castle in the columns of 20 minutes.
The proposals formulated at the end of February could thus provide the president-candidate with a framework of the program for a possible second term and join those he is starting to tackle for a deadline going beyond April 2022: the France 2030 investment plan, the planning and orientation bill for internal security (Lopsi) of 2022 or the experimentation in Marseille of “schools of the future” whose directors could choose the teachers.
Because it is the next term of office that will inherit the implementation of the measures
As for the fate of the proposals that will emerge from these States General, the presidency promises that “Anything that may come under the regulations will be carried as quickly as possible, with pragmatism. The Minister of Justice will be responsible for managing this until the elections”. On the other hand, since the Assembly will have finished its session (which will end at the end of February, a month and a half before the presidential election) all that will come under the law, including what requires budgetary financing, will have to wait for the next five-year term.
“Whatever executive is in power in 2022, it will be able to draw on the conclusions of the general states of justice”, pleads the entourage of the Head of State in Le Figaro.
If they consider that this vast consultation comes too late, the actors of the system will not boycott the event. “The idea is not to be resistant to everything, obviously, emphasizes to 20 minutes. Lucille Rouet, general secretary of the Syndicat de la magistrature. We hope that the format of these States General will not obscure the question which always seems central to us, when we talk about justice: that of financial means and staffing. “