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The French Republic

Flag_France Coat_of_Arms_FranceFrance is the largest country in the EU, stretching from the North Sea to the Mediterranean (total area : 550.000 km²). The landscape is diverse, with mountains in the east and south, including the Alpine peak of Mont Blanc (4.810 m) which is Western Europe’s highest point. France also includes overseas territories with a large number of islands. Lowland France consists of four river basins, the Seine in the north, the Loire and the Garonne flowing westwards and the Rhône, which flows from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean Sea. France has a population of 64.3 million. It has an advanced industrial economy and an efficient farm sector.

The president of the Republic has an important political role. He chairs the meetings of the Council of Ministers (cabinet), and retains overall responsibility in key areas of foreign affairs and defence. The day-to-day running of the country is in the hands of the prime minister. The president is elected by direct popular vote for a period of five years. The parliament consists of a National Assembly, directly elected every five years, and a Senate whose members are chosen by an electoral college.

Justice in France is administered by a Ministry, also called Chancellerie, headed by the Keeper of the Seals, Minister of Justice. The ministry has several roles:

  • drafting of laws and regulations in various areas such as civil law, criminal law, French citizenship, etc. ;
  • management of the means and resources: personnel, equipment, building, IT, etc. ;
  • provision of custody and care to people entrusted by the judicial authority: juvenile offenders or at risk, people under criminal justice control;
  • definition and implementation of public policies: assistance to victims of crime, criminal policy, fight against organised crime, access to law and justice, etc..

France and the EU

new-map-of-french-regions-towns-France-www.popiel.co_.uk-800-13France was one of the funding members of the European Union (1952). From the time of its creation in 1985, France became a member of the Schengen area and a member of the Eurozone since its launching in 1999. France has appointed one European Commissioner and sends 74 members to the European Parliament.

France and the Rule of Law Initiative

Since its creation in 2008, along with Germany, France has played the role of coordinator of the EU Rule of Law Initiative in Central Asia.

The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are working to coordinate the Initiative within France.

France has Embassies in the capitals of all five Central Asian States (Kazakhstan , the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and a Consulate General in Almaty, Kazakhstan). French diplomats in Central Asia contribute to the success of the activities of the Rule of Law Platform by accompanying the project and by participating in activities of the Platform.

Bilateral cooperation. France’s bilateral legal cooperation with the Central Asian States aims at strengthening rule of law and fostering judicial reform. To this aim, France has commissioned French experts including judges, representatives of the various legal and judicial professions, and it has invited on its territory several delegations of Central Asian lawyers. French Embassies in Central Asia have kept close contacts with local authorities in order to collect their requests for expertise and assess their needs for technical assistance. Bilateral cooperation with Kazakhstan has been supported since 1996 by a cooperation agreement between the Ecole Nationale de la Magistrature (ENM) and the Law Institute of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Since 2009, ENM has welcomed several future judges under training at the Judicial Institute of the Academy of Kazakhstan. In parallel, several missions of lawyers and judges have been organised in the two countries since 1993. France also has provided support to the development of the profession of Kazakh public notaries. In December 2013, the Conseil Supérieur du Notariat welcomed a delegation of specialists from the Registration and legal assistance Committee of the Ministry of Justice of Kazakhstan.

In January 2013, meetings with members of the Tajik Constitutional Court took place at the Cassation Court, the Constitutional Council and the State Council (Conseil d’Etat), in Paris.

In the framework of the cooperation between the Ministries of the Interior of Turkmenistan and France, two French judges provided training to Turkmen police officers on human rights protection, especially in relation to prison inmates and in the area of juvenile justice, in 2013.

In December 2013, a Turkmen delegation visited Paris in the framework of the EU-financed Legal Capacity Building project, with support from the French Embassy to Turkmenistan. This aimed at providing exposure for developing a resource and training center on international law for the Turkmen Ministry of Justice.

Uzbekistan regularly benefits from French expertise in the areas of administrative justice and constitutional law, with the participation of the Conseil d’Etat in particular. The same is true for the training of judges and prosecutors. In December 2012, ENM signed a letter of intent with the Training Center under the Uzbek General Prosecutor’s Office. In January 2014, this institution signed a partnership agreement with the French Cassation Court.

Multilateral cooperation. France’s contribution to EU-financed technical assistance projects aiming at strengthening the rule of law and the judicial reform in the region has been significant.

A large number of EU initiatives in the region have been conducted in close association with France. Not only is France, along with Germany, a National Coordinator of the EU Rule of Law Initiative in Central Asia, but it is also a member of a European Consortium implementing the project “Support to Criminal Judicial Reforms in Uzbekistan” which was completed in 2014. In addition, the GIP Justice Coopération Internationale had been awarded as lead of a European Consortium, the EU initiative “Support to Judicial and Legal Reform in the Republic of Kazakhstan” project which it implemented from February 2010 until September 2013. JCI is part of a consortium implementing a large EU-funded project “Promotion of the rule of law in the Kyrgyz Republic” with which the Platform will co-organise a regional seminar on networks of training institutions in Central Asia (planed in Bishkek in summer 2016).

French Embassies in Central Asia also cooperate regularly with other international donors including the World Bank, the OSCE and UNDP.


Rule of Law Platform work plan and France

French judges and lawyers regularly participate in training seminars for justice professionals. France has contributed as lead to a regional seminar on the fair trial in Bishkek in April 2013: in particular, a French judge working on the EU Criminal Justice Reform project in Uzbekistan contributed to the regional seminar. France has been associated to the following activities by contributing by providing high-level expertise: background regional study on Criminal Procedure, training workshops on law drafting techniques in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan, on Administrative Law. The Ecole National d’Administration (ENA) and French Administrative Law Institutions and Courts welcomed a Central Asian delegation of judges and lawyers during a study visit to Strasbourg. Members of the State Council and the Ministry of Interior contributed to seminar on local governance and decentralisation in Bishkek in March 2014 and in Ashgabat in December 2015.

French civil society has brought substantial contributions to some of its Central Asian counterparts throughout the implementation of the Platform, by means of exchanges of expertise as well as resulting from sustainable partnerships.

Rule of Law Platform Stakeholders in France

In addition to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice, good cooperation has been established with Ecole Nationale d’Administration and the French Ministry of Interior which facilitated meetings with the Préfecture de la région Alsace and the Préfecture du Département du Bas-Rhin in the course of a study visit in July 2013. The Préfecture du Département de la Gironde has also contributed expertise to the Platform. The Ministry of Finance and public Accounts has recommended experts, including an Honorary Paymaster General.

French judicial institutions provided experts to the Rule of Law Platform, including the Cassation Court, the Court of Appeal of Fort de France, the Tribunal of First Instance of Paris, the Tribunals of Higher Instance of Amiens and Lyon, the Commercial Tribunal of Paris, the Public Prosecutor to the District Courts of Saint-Malo and Pau. Administrative Courts including the State Council, the Administrative Courts of Paris and Nancy have commissioned experts as well. The Paris Bar, the Conseil National des Barreaux and the Chambre Nationale des Huissiers de Justice also have been associated to the Platform’s activities.

French academic institutions having teamed with the Rule of Law Platform include Paris University I and University of Aix-Marseille.

In the second Phase, the Rule of Law Platform will continue to associate closely French experts to its activities.