Witness protection


France - Criminal Procedure Code 1959 (2006) EN



Article 706-57
Persons against whom there is no plausible reason to suspect that they have committed or have attempted to commit an offence and who are in a position to bring useful pieces of evidence to the proceedings can declare their registered address to be that of the police station or gendarmerie.
The addresses of such persons are then recorded in a classified, initialled register, which is opened for this purpose.

Article 706-58
In proceedings brought in respect of a felony or a misdemeanour punished by at least three years' imprisonment, where the hearing of a person described in article 706-57 is liable to put his life or health or that of his family members or his close relatives in serious danger, the liberty and custody judge, seised of the case in a reasoned application by the district prosecutor or the investigating judge, may authorise, in a reasoned decision, that this person's statements will be recorded without his identity appearing in the case file for the proceedings. This decision may not be appealed against, subject to the provisions of the second paragraph of article 706-60. The liberty and custody judge may himself decide to carry out the witness's hearing.
The liberty and custody judge's decision, which makes no mention of the person's identity, is attached to the official record of the witness's hearing, from which the person's signature is also omitted. The person's identity and address are written in another official record signed by him, which is put in a case file separate from the case file of the proceedings, and which also holds the application provided for in the previous paragraph. The identity and address of the person are written in a classified, initialled register, which is opened for this purpose in the district court.

Article 706-59
Under no circumstance will the identity or the address of a witness who has benefited from the provisions of articles 706-57 or 706-58 be revealed, other than in the case provided for in the last paragraph of article 706-60.
The disclosure of the identity or the address of a witness who has benefited from the provisions of articles 706-57 or 706-58 is punished by five years' imprisonment and a fine of €75,000.

Article 706-60
The provisions of article 706-58 are not applicable if, when the circumstances in which the offence was committed or the witness's personality are taken into account, knowledge of the person's identity is essential to the case for the defence.
Within ten days of being informed of the content of a hearing carried out under the conditions provided for in article 706-58, the person under judicial examination may challenge, before the president of the investigating chamber, the recourse to the proceedings provided for in this article. After considering the evidence of the proceedings and that included in the case file mentioned in the second paragraph of article 706-58, the president of the investigating chamber rules, in a reasoned decision that is not open to appeal. If he finds the challenge justified, he orders the nullification of the hearing. He may also rule that the witness's identity be disclosed, on the condition that the witness expressly makes it known that he agrees to waive his anonymity.

Article 706-61
A person who has been placed under judicial examination or sent for trial may ask to be confronted with a witness heard in accordance with the provisions of article 706-58, through the agency of a technical device allowing the witness to be heard from a distance. He may also get his advocate to interrogate this witness in the same way. The witness's voice is then rendered unidentifiable using the appropriate technical processes.
If the court orders an additional investigation in order to hear a witness, the latter is heard either by an investigating judge nominated to carry out this additional investigation or, if one of the members of the court has been nominated to carry out this hearing, by using the technical device provided for in the previous paragraph.

Article 706-62
No conviction may be pronounced on the sole basis of statements recorded under the conditions set out in articles 706-58 and 706-61.

Article 706-63
A Decree of the Conseil d'Etat stipulates, so far as necessary, the requirements for the application of the provisions of the present title.

Rome Statute

Article 68 Protection of the victims and witnesses and their participation in the proceedings

1. The Court shall take appropriate measures to protect the safety, physical and psychological well-being, dignity and privacy of victims and witnesses. In so doing, the Court shall have regard to all relevant factors, including age, gender as defined in article 7, paragraph 3, and health, and the nature of the crime, in particular, but not limited to, where the crime involves sexual or gender violence or violence against children. The Prosecutor shall take such measures particularly during the investigation and prosecution of such crimes. These measures shall not be prejudicial to or inconsistent with the rights of the accused and a fair and impartial trial.

2. As an exception to the principle of public hearings provided for in article 67, the Chambers of the Court may, to protect victims and witnesses or an accused, conduct any part of the proceedings in camera or allow the presentation of evidence by electronic or other special means. In particular, such measures shall be implemented in the case of a victim of sexual violence or a child who is a victim or a witness, unless otherwise ordered by the Court, having regard to all the circumstances, particularly the views of the victim or witness.

3. Where the personal interests of the victims are affected, the Court shall permit their views and concerns to be presented and considered at stages of the proceedings determined to be appropriate by the Court and in a manner which is not prejudicial to or inconsistent with the rights of the accused and a fair and impartial trial. Such views and concerns may be presented by the legal representatives of the victims where the Court considers it appropriate, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

4. The Victims and Witnesses Unit may advise the Prosecutor and the Court on appropriate protective measures, security arrangements, counselling and assistance as referred to in article 43, paragraph 6.

5. Where the disclosure of evidence or information pursuant to this Statute may lead to the grave endangerment of the security of a witness or his or her family, the Prosecutor may, for the purposes of any proceedings conducted prior to the commencement of the trial, withhold such evidence or information and instead submit a summary thereof. Such measures shall be exercised in a manner which is not prejudicial to or inconsistent with the rights of the accused and a fair and impartial trial.

6. A State may make an application for necessary measures to be taken in respect of the protection of its servants or agents and the protection of confidential or sensitive information.

Article 93 Other forms of cooperation

1. States Parties shall, in accordance with the provisions of this Part and under procedures of national law, comply with requests by the Court to provide the following assistance in relation to investigations or prosecutions:

(a) The identification and whereabouts of persons or the location of items;

(b) The taking of evidence, including testimony under oath, and the production of evidence, including expert opinions and reports necessary to the Court;

(c) The questioning of any person being investigated or prosecuted;

(d) The service of documents, including judicial documents;

(e) Facilitating the voluntary appearance of persons as witnesses or experts before the Court;

(f) The temporary transfer of persons as provided in paragraph 7;

(g) The examination of places or sites, including the exhumation and examination of grave sites;

(h) The execution of searches and seizures;

(i) The provision of records and documents, including official records and documents;

(j) The protection of victims and witnesses and the preservation of evidence;

(k) The identification, tracing and freezing or seizure of proceeds, property and assets and instrumentalities of crimes for the purpose of eventual forfeiture, without prejudice to the rights of bona fide third parties; and

(l) Any other type of assistance which is not prohibited by the law of the requested State, with a view to facilitating the investigation and prosecution of crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court.

2. The Court shall have the authority to provide an assurance to a witness or an expert appearing before the Court that he or she will not be prosecuted, detained or subjected to any restriction of personal freedom by the Court in respect of any act or omission that preceded the departure of that person from the requested State.

3. Where execution of a particular measure of assistance detailed in a request presented under paragraph 1, is prohibited in the requested State on the basis of an existing fundamental legal principle of general application, the requested State shall promptly consult with the Court to try to resolve the matter. In the consultations, consideration should be given to whether the assistance can be rendered in another manner or subject to conditions. If after consultations the matter cannot be resolved, the Court shall modify the request as necessary.

4. In accordance with article 72, a State Party may deny a request for assistance, in whole or in part, only if the request concerns the production of any documents or disclosure of evidence which relates to its national security.

5. Before denying a request for assistance under paragraph 1 (l), the requested State shall consider whether the assistance can be provided subject to specified conditions, or whether the assistance can be provided at a later date or in an alternative manner, provided that if the Court or the Prosecutor accepts the assistance subject to conditions, the Court or the Prosecutor shall abide by them.

6. If a request for assistance is denied, the requested State Party shall promptly inform the Court or the Prosecutor of the reasons for such denial.


(a) The Court may request the temporary transfer of a person in custody for purposes of identification or for obtaining testimony or other assistance. The person may be transferred if the following conditions are fulfilled:

(i) The person freely gives his or her informed consent to the transfer; and

(ii) The requested State agrees to the transfer, subject to such conditions as that State and the Court may agree.

(b) The person being transferred shall remain in custody. When the purposes of the transfer have been fulfilled, the Court shall return the person without delay to the requested State.


(a) The Court shall ensure the confidentiality of documents and information, except as required for the investigation and proceedings described in the request.

(b) The requested State may, when necessary, transmit documents or information to the Prosecutor on a confidential basis. The Prosecutor may then use them solely for the purpose of generating new evidence.

(c) The requested State may, on its own motion or at the request of the Prosecutor, subsequently consent to the disclosure of such documents or information. They may then be used as evidence pursuant to the provisions of Parts 5 and 6 and in accordance with the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.



(i) In the event that a State Party receives competing requests, other than for surrender or extradition, from the Court and from another State pursuant to an international obligation, the State Party shall endeavour, in consultation with the Court and the other State, to meet both requests, if necessary by postponing or attaching conditions to one or the other request.

(ii) Failing that, competing requests shall be resolved in accordance with the principles established in article 90.

(b) Where, however, the request from the Court concerns information, property or persons which are subject to the control of a third State or an international organization by virtue of an international agreement, the requested States shall so inform the Court and the Court shall direct its request to the third State or international organization.


(a) The Court may, upon request, cooperate with and provide assistance to a State Party conducting an investigation into or trial in respect of conduct which constitutes a crime within the jurisdiction of the Court or which constitutes a serious crime under the national law of the requesting State.


(i) The assistance provided under subparagraph (a) shall include, inter alia:

a. The transmission of statements, documents or other types of evidence obtained in the course of an investigation or a trial conducted by the Court; and

b. The questioning of any person detained by order of the Court;

(ii) In the case of assistance under subparagraph (b) (i) a:

a. If the documents or other types of evidence have been obtained with the assistance of a State, such transmission shall require the consent of that State;

b. If the statements, documents or other types of evidence have been provided by a witness or expert, such transmission shall be subject to the provisions of article 68.

(c) The Court may, under the conditions set out in this paragraph, grant a request for assistance under this paragraph from a State which is not a Party to this Statute.