Enforcement of sentences imposed


France - Criminal Procedure Code 1959 (2006) EN




Article 707
At the decision or under the supervision of the judicial authorities, sentences imposed by the criminal courts are, except in insuperable circumstances, enforced effectively and as soon as possible.
The execution of the sentences favours the reintegration of convicted persons as well as the prevention of recidivism, whilst respecting the interests of society and the rights of victims.
To this end, the sentences may be modified during the course of their implementation to take into account the evolving personality and situation of the convicted person. The individualisation of the sentences must, whenever possible, allow the progressive return of the convicted person to freedom, and avoid release without any form of judicial support.

Article 707-1
The public prosecutor and the parties seek to obtain the execution of that part of the sentence that concerns them.
However, proceedings for the recovery of fines and confiscations are undertaken by the tax collector in the district prosecutor's name.
The payment of the fine must always be sought. However, a total or partial default on the payment of this sum may lead to the incarceration of the convicted person in accordance with the conditions set down by the law.
For the recovery of any fines, the limitation period is interrupted by an order delivered to the convicted person or by a seizure of which he is informed.

Article 707-2
In proceedings for misdemeanours or petty offences, any person sentenced to a fine has a month from the date the sentence was imposed in which to pay.
Where the convicted person pays the fine as provided for by the first paragraph, there is a reduction of 20%, up to a maximum of €1,500.
Where an appeal is lodged against the part of the penal aspects of the decision, at the request of the party concerned, any sums paid out are reimbursed.
A Decree of the Conseil d'Etat determines the conditions of implementation of the present article.

Article 707-3
Where a court imposes a fine for a misdemeanour or a petty offence, the president informs the convicted person that if he pays the entire fine within a month from the date of the ruling which imposed it, there is a reduction of 20%, up to a maximum of €1,500.
The president informs the convicted person that the payment of the fine will not impede any proceedings for appeal.

Article 707-4
The provisions of articles 707-2 and 707-3 also apply to any convicted persons who have been authorised to pay fines in several instalments over a period of time, within a time limit and according to any provisions determined by the competent public Treasury departments.

Article 708
The execution of any sentence or sentences imposed takes place upon an application made by the public prosecutor after the decision has become final.
However, the time limit accorded to the prosecutor general by articles 505 and 548 for entering an appeal does not prevent the execution of the penalty.
The execution of a penalty imposed for a petty offence or for a non-custodial misdemeanour penalty may be suspended or divided for serious medical, family, professional or social reasons. The decision is made either by the public prosecutor, or on the suggestion of the public prosecutor by the correctional court, the police court or the neighbourhood court in a hearing in chambers, according to whether the sentence must be suspended for less or more than three months. But it is not possible to suspend or divide the suspension of a driving licence in misdemeanour cases or for offences for which the law or the regulations provide that this penalty may not be limited to driving outside professional activities.
Where the trial court has decided that the execution of a fine, day-fine, or suspension of a driving licence should be divided pursuant to article 132-28 of the Criminal Code, such a decision may be varied pursuant to the conditions stated in the previous paragraph.
NOTE: Act no. 2005-47, article 11: These provisions come into force on the first day of the third month following their publication. Nevertheless, any cases of which the police court or the neighbourhood court were lawfully seised at that date remain within the jurisdiction of those courts.

Article 709
The district prosecutor and public prosecutor have the right to directly request the assistance of the law-enforcement agencies to ensure the execution of the sentence.

Article 709-2
The district prosecutor draws up an annual report on the state and the time limits for the execution of the penalties, which contains, in particular, a report by the chief court accountant on the recovery of the fines in the court's jurisdiction. The chief court accountant sends his report to the district prosecutor on the first working day of the month of May. The district prosecutor's report is made public before the last working day of the month of June, in accordance with the conditions determined by a decree from the Minister of Justice.

Article 710
Any procedural objections concerning the execution of penalties are filed with the court or appeal court which has imposed the sentence. This court may also rectify any purely clerical errors included in its decisions. It decides on any petition for the concurrence of penalties presented pursuant to article 132-4 of the Criminal Code.
In felony cases, the investigating chamber of the appeal court deals with any rectifications and incidents of execution that may arise from the judgments made by the assize court.
Equally competent to deal with applications under the present article, according to the distinctions provided by the previous two paragraphs, is the court or appeal court or investigative chamber in the area where the convicted person is held. A public prosecutor who receives an application for penalties to be consolidated lodged by a detainee may send this request to the court of the place in which the detention is taking place.

Article 711
The district or appeal court, upon an application made by the public prosecutor or the party concerned, decides in chambers after having heard the public prosecutor, the counsel of the party if he so requests and, if necessary, the party himself, subject to the provisions of article 712. Where the applicant is in detained, he has a right to appear before the court is only if he expressly requests this in his application.
The execution of the disputed decision is suspended if the court or appeal court so orders.
The decision on the objection is served, on the application of the public prosecutor, to the parties concerned.

Article 712
Whenever the examination of a detained convicted person appears necessary, the court seised of the case may send a rogatory letter to the president of the district court nearest to the place of detention.
This judge may delegate this to one of the court's judges, who then proceeds with the examination of the detainee and drafts an official record of such examination.
The court may also decide to apply the provisions of article 706-71.

France - ICC Cooperation Law 2002 (FR)


Article 627-16

(Inserted by Law no. 2002-268 of 26 February 2002 art. 1 Official Journal of 27 February 2002)

Where the International Criminal Court so requests, the enforcement of fines and seizures or decisions relating to compensation pronounced by that court is authorised by the correctional court of Paris, which is seised of the case by the district prosecutor. The procedure followed in the correctional court follows the rules contained in the present Code.
The court is bound by the International Criminal Court’s decision, including orders affecting the rights of third parties. However, in cases where a confiscation order is carried out, it may order any measures designed to ensure recovery of the value of the product, assets or holding that the court has ordered to be confiscated, where it appears that the confiscation order cannot be carried out. The court hears the convicted person as well as any other person who has rights over these assets, if necessary by letters rogatory. These persons may be represented by an advocate.
Where the court finds that the enforcement of a confiscation or compensation order could harm a bona fide third party who cannot appeal against the order, it informs the district prosecutor for the purpose of sending the matter back to the International Criminal Court, which takes the necessary action.

Article 627-17

(Inserted by Law no. 2002-268 of 26 February 2002 art. 1 Official Journal of 27 February 2002)

The authorisation for execution which the correctional court orders under the previous article involves, in accordance with the decision of the International Criminal Court, the transfer of the value of the fines and the confiscated assets or the proceeds of their sale to the court or to a fund for victims. These assets or sums may also be awarded to the victims, if the court so decides and has so designated them.
Any challenge concerning the allocation of the proceeds of the fines, assets or the proceeds of their sale is sent to the International Criminal Court, which takes the necessary action.


Article 627-18

(Act no. 2002-268 of 26 February 2002 art. 1 Official Journal of 27 February 2002)
(Act no. 2004-204 of 9 March 2004 art.162 II Official Journal of 10 March 2004)

Where, in accordance with article 103 of the statute, the Government has agreed to take in a person convicted by the International Criminal Court in order for him to serve his prison sentence in French territory, the sentence imposed is immediately enforceable from the transfer of this person onto French soil, for the part of the sentence that remains to be served.
Subject to the provisions of the statute and the present section, the enforcement and the application of the sentence are governed by the provisions of the present Code, with the exception of articles 728-2 to 728-8.

Article 627-19
On his arrival on French territory, the transferred person is presented to the district prosecutor of the area he arrives in, who interrogates him to establish his identity, this being noted in an official record. However, if the interrogation cannot be carried out immediately, the person is taken to prison, where he may be detained for a period not exceeding twenty-four hours. At the end of this period, he is automatically taken before the district prosecutor, as arranged by the head of the prison.
After considering the documents stating the agreement between the French government and the International Criminal Court relating to the transfer of the person concerned, a certified copy of the conviction judgment, and a court notification of the start date for the enforcement of the sentence and the length of time that remains to be served, the district prosecutor orders the immediate imprisonment of the convicted person.

Article 627-20
If the convicted person lodges a request to be placed abroad, or for partial liberty, reduction in his sentence, for his sentence to be suspended or to be served in parts, for placement under electronic surveillance or for release on parole, his request is sent to the public prosecutor at the appeal court for the area where the convicted person is imprisoned. The district prosecutor sends this request on to the Minister of Justice.
The latter sends the request to the International Criminal Court as soon as possible, together with all the relevant documents.
The International Criminal Court decides if the convicted person may or may not benefit from the considered measure. Where the Court’s decision is negative, the government indicates to the court whether it agrees to keep the convicted person on French territory or if it intends to request his transfer to another State appointed by the court.

Article 627-21
When, after an indictment decision, the accused has neither appeared nor been arrested within ten days of the notification being made to his home, or when after appearance or arrest he then escapes, the presiding judge of the assize court or, in his absence, the presiding judge of the court where the assizes are held, or the judge who replaces him, makes a ruling that he is obliged to appear again within a new time limit of ten days, failing which he will be declared a rebel against the law, his rights as a citizen will be suspended, his assets will be impounded during the investigation of the contumacy, legal proceedings of all kinds will be barred to him during the same period, that proceedings will continue against him, and any person who knows of his whereabouts will be obliged to make them known.
This ruling also contains a reference to the felony and the arrest order.

Rome Statute

Article 103 Role of States in enforcement of sentences of imprisonment


(a) A sentence of imprisonment shall be served in a State designated by the Court from a list of States which have indicated to the Court their willingness to accept sentenced persons.

(b) At the time of declaring its willingness to accept sentenced persons, a State may attach conditions to its acceptance as agreed by the Court and in accordance with this Part.

(c) A State designated in a particular case shall promptly inform the Court whether it accepts the Court's designation.


(a) The State of enforcement shall notify the Court of any circumstances, including the exercise of any conditions agreed under paragraph 1, which could materially affect the terms or extent of the imprisonment. The Court shall be given at least 45 days' notice of any such known or foreseeable circumstances. During this period, the State of enforcement shall take no action that might prejudice its obligations under article 110.

(b) Where the Court cannot agree to the circumstances referred to in subparagraph (a), it shall notify the State of enforcement and proceed in accordance with article 104, paragraph 1.

3. In exercising its discretion to make a designation under paragraph 1, the Court shall take into account the following:

(a) The principle that States Parties should share the responsibility for enforcing sentences of imprisonment, in accordance with principles of equitable distribution, as provided in the Rules of Procedure and Evidence;

(b) The application of widely accepted international treaty standards governing the treatment of prisoners;

(c) The views of the sentenced person;

(d) The nationality of the sentenced person;

(e) Such other factors regarding the circumstances of the crime or the person sentenced, or the effective enforcement of the sentence, as may be appropriate in designating the State of enforcement.

4. If no State is designated under paragraph 1, the sentence of imprisonment shall be served in a prison facility made available by the host State, in accordance with the conditions set out in the headquarters agreement referred to in article 3, paragraph 2. In such a case, the costs arising out of the enforcement of a sentence of imprisonment shall be borne by the Court.

Article 104 Change in designation of State of enforcement

1. The Court may, at any time, decide to transfer a sentenced person to a prison of another State.

2. A sentenced person may, at any time, apply to the Court to be transferred from the State of enforcement.

Article 105 Enforcement of the sentence

1. Subject to conditions which a State may have specified in accordance with article 103, paragraph 1 (b), the sentence of imprisonment shall be binding on the States Parties, which shall in no case modify it.

2. The Court alone shall have the right to decide any application for appeal and revision. The State of enforcement shall not impede the making of any such application by a sentenced person.

Article 106 Supervision of enforcement of sentences and conditions of imprisonment

1. The enforcement of a sentence of imprisonment shall be subject to the supervision of the Court and shall be consistent with widely accepted international treaty standards governing treatment of prisoners.

2. The conditions of imprisonment shall be governed by the law of the State of enforcement and shall be consistent with widely accepted international treaty standards governing treatment of prisoners; in no case shall such conditions be more or less favourable than those available to prisoners convicted of similar offences in the State of enforcement.

3. Communications between a sentenced person and the Court shall be unimpeded and confidential.

Article 109 Enforcement of fines and forfeiture measures

1. States Parties shall give effect to fines or forfeitures ordered by the Court under Part 7, without prejudice to the rights of bona fide third parties, and in accordance with the procedure of their national law.

2. If a State Party is unable to give effect to an order for forfeiture, it shall take measures to recover the value of the proceeds, property or assets ordered by the Court to be forfeited, without prejudice to the rights of bona fide third parties.

3. Property, or the proceeds of the sale of real property or, where appropriate, the sale of other property, which is obtained by a State Party as a result of its enforcement of a judgement of the Court shall be transferred to the Court.