Gouvernement Princier de Monaco
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The Criminal Court

Jurisdiction

The Criminal Court is not a permanent jurisdiction. As its name indicates, it has the power to try criminal offences by law.

In addition to offences classified as crimes, the Criminal Court is also competent to judge criminal offences committed by minors with the participation of an adult.

Since the abolition of the death penalty by the Constitution of 17 December 1962, the most serious penalty that can be imposed on the accused is life imprisonment.

Organisation and operation

The Criminal Court’s composition is twofold. It is composed of professional and non-professional members, specifically: 

Three judges: a President appointed from the sitting judges in the Court of Appeal and two assistant judges from the seats of the Court of Appeal, the Court of First Instance or the Justice of the Peace. 

Three jurors: taken from a list, drawn up every three years by Ministerial decision, of thirty Monegasque legal adults who have never been convicted of a felony or misdemeanour.

In principle, proceedings before the Criminal Court are public and under penalty of nullity. 

However, the President has the ability to ban minors from the court room. Furthermore, if the publicity risks endangering public order or public morals, the Court may order a partly or entirely closed session by applying to the Public Prosecution Department or, ex officio, by making a reasoned decision. If the accused is a minor, it is mandatory that the proceedings take place in closed session, in the presence of the legal adult(s) involved. 

In contrast, the judgment on the merits is always delivered in open court.

Furthermore, the fact that hearings are heard orally is another fundamental principle governing proceedings before the Criminal Court, the rest are as before the Correctional Court. Orality is by public order and, therefore, any breach is subject to a penalty of nullity. It mainly applies to witnesses who must be heard orally except in exceptional circumstances.

Lastly, once begun, proceedings must continue uninterrupted until complete, except in the case of suspension or adjournment by the President.

The Criminal Court is a sovereign jurisdiction the decisions of which cannot be appealed against. However, the parties concerned (convicted person, plaintiff claiming for damages and Prosecution) may bring the Court’s judgments before the Court of Appeal if they estimate that it has violated the rules of its jurisdiction, failed to observe essential procedural requirements or breached the law.

The appeal for review must be made within five working days after the judgment is delivered.

Founding texts

Loi n. 783 du 15/07/1965 portant organisation judiciaire

Code de procédure pénale

http://en.gouv.mc/Government-Institutions/Institutions/Justice/The-Criminal-Court