Justice Advocate Dupond-Moretti Seeks Right’s Support

The National Assembly decides on Tuesday on the bill to increase the means of Justice by Eric Dupond-Moretti, who hopes for support from the right after having conceded the addition of 3,000 prison places to the plan already planned.

The solemn vote will take place at the end of the afternoon at first reading.

The deputies worked during the first half of July on this text already widely voted on in the Senate in mid-June. The government promises a Justice budget of nearly 11 billion euros in 2027, against 9.6 billion today, and the hiring in five years of 10,000 people, including 1,500 magistrates and 1,500 clerks.

Rather consensual, this programming bill took a more controversial turn at the Palais Bourbon, in the context of the riots which shook France, after the death of young Nahel killed by police fire. The LRs showed their firmness even more on sovereign subjects, and conditioned the vote on this law to the increase in the number of prison places.

“Chiche”, ended up responding the presidential majority, supporting an amendment by LR party leader Eric Ciotti.

To the plan of 15,000 prison places already planned by the government, there is thus added a target of 3,000 additional, to try to reach a prison park of around 78,000 places in 2027.

The objective seems very ambitious given the difficulties in building new places of detention. According to the Chancellery, 4,300 places will be operational at the end of 2023, out of the 18,000 now targeted by the end of the five-year term.

The Minister of Justice launched on this subject “a solemn, republican appeal, so that locally the attempts to obstruct” the construction of detention centers stop. Among elected officials, it is always “prison yes, but elsewhere”, pointed out Eric Dupond-Moretti.

The left denounces for its part “an obsession with everything prison”.

The presidential camp hopes to win the support of right-wing deputies with this addition. The LRs are hesitating between a vote in favor and an abstention, according to a parliamentary source. They will decide Tuesday morning in a group meeting.

“Lider Maximo”
The riots have relegated to the background a yet sensitive subject of the bill: the possibility of remotely activating cell phones “snitches” in certain investigations.

The text provides in particular for being able to film or record without their knowledge, thanks to their connected devices (telephones, computers, etc.), people targeted by investigations for terrorism, serious crime and organized crime. This concerns “dozens of cases per year”. “We are far from the totalitarianism of +1984+”, the novel by George Orwell, assures Eric Dupond-Moretti, a former criminal lawyer.

The technique is already used by the intelligence services, and without the approval of a judge, which will be essential here, hammers the Keeper of the Seals. It will also be prohibited for certain professions: magistrates, lawyers, parliamentarians, journalists, doctors.

But the left and defenders of public freedoms are alarmed at a “very dangerous slope”, an “intrusion into private life”, even an “authoritarian drift”.

The subject, like others, gave rise to electric passes between the rebels and the Minister of Justice.

After the riots, Eric Dupond-Moretti repeatedly renamed LFI “La France incendiary”, a term also used by the far right. And he willingly criticizes the one he calls the “Lider Maximo” of the Insoumis, Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

In the eyes of the presidential camp, the minister has rather scored points since the end of June. “The judicial response to the riots was immediate. Boom, boom, boom, you steal a can of Red Bull, ten months… He comes out stronger. He needed it”, in a period of possible government reshuffle, believes- t-on within the Renaissance group.

On the ground, the Keeper of the Seals must face the anger of the clerks, who demand more consideration and recognition. Thursday, he stressed that an “agreement in principle” has been signed with the trade unions to frame the negotiations on remuneration and the status scheduled until October.

“It seems to me that from the moment we negotiate, we are no longer in the conflict,” he said. The bill endorses the hiring of 1,500 clerks in five years.

This article is originally published on france24.com

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