France and Monaco sign memorandum of understanding on combatting terrorism
The Principality of Monaco and the French Republic signed a memorandum of understanding on combatting terrorism on Friday 26 March, in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. The aim behind this shared commitment is to step up judicial cooperation in criminal matters and expand technical collaboration between the two countries in the fight against terrorism.
France and Monaco will seek to ensure that this mutual legal assistance is as broad as possible for all criminal cases involving terrorism.
In practical terms, the intention is to guarantee quick, coordinated and harmonised investigations, by pooling human, legal and material resources, sharing information under a simplified, direct framework of mutual assistance between the Monegasque judicial authorities and French counter-terrorism prosecutors, and coordinating any proceedings in compliance with criminal procedure provisions in each nation.
Should acts that are likely to be linked to terrorism and also fall under the jurisdiction of the French judicial authorities be committed in Monaco, the two countries will set up a joint investigation team as quickly as possible.
In the event of actions likely to be linked to terrorism, the French authorities will share the benefit of the expertise of the French national counter-terrorism prosecution service, including an analysis of the legal characterisation of the facts, the direction of the investigation and consideration of victims.
This memorandum of understanding follows on from a line of agreements between the two countries, as they have maintained an excellent partnership over a long period of time. These include the agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters signed in Paris on 8 November 2005, the Neighbourhood Agreement of 18 May 1963 and the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters dated 20 April 1959.
Secretary of Justice Robert Gelli welcomed the agreement: “This is an important step forward in the fight against terrorism, which is a potential threat to every European country. In the last five years, our neighbouring city and friend, Nice, has suffered two terrorist attacks. Determined, coordinated action on the part of our judicial institutions will undeniably improve the effectiveness of the criminal justice response to the terrorist threat.”
For his part, French Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti hailed an agreement “which will facilitate mutual legal assistance between France and Monaco in the broadest and most effective way possible to combat terrorism. Technical support from our national counter-terrorism prosecutors and the formation of joint investigation teams will enable Monaco, in the event of a terrorist attack, to benefit from France’s advanced technical expertise to help the investigation and the victims. Given the close links between the two countries, such solidarity is as natural as it is essential.”