Justice reform, relations with magistrates, political situation … The Minister of Justice answered questions from journalists from BFMTV and RMC for two hours.
Great oral for Eric Dupond-Moretti. The Minister of Justice answered questions from journalists from BFMTV and RMC for more than two hours on Tuesday evening. First on current issues, such as the hostage situation in the prison of Condé-sur-Sarthe, which took place during the day. Then about justice, his political career or the upcoming presidential elections. Here are the main highlights of the show.
• About the hostage situation in Condé-sur-Sarthe prison: “There was an error”
Eric Dupond-Moretti recognized “a mistake” after taking hostages in the prison of Condé-sur-Sarthe (Orne).
“There was clearly a mistake as a man is armed and is holding members of the prison administration hostage,” said the justice minister, explaining that the ongoing investigation will have to answer several questions.
Starting with the question of how the detainee who took two guards hostage made a weapon, a knife about six inches long.
• On the strictness of the justice system: 132,000 prison sentences, “do you think it’s lax?”
Is justice too “lax”? This is what 68% of the French think, according to a recent poll, and this is the question Apolline de Malherbe wanted to tackle to Eric Dupond-Moretti. “I want to answer them (to the French)”, replied the Minister of Justice. “They don’t know enough about the judiciary.”
And the Keeper of the Seals to roll out a series of statistics, to prove that according to him justice is actually “more and more strict”.
“In 2010, there were 116,000 prison sentences, in 2019 132,000, do you think that’s lax?” he asked. “Between 2001 and 2005, 89,000 years in prison were imposed. Between 2016 and 2020 that is 102,000 years. Do you think it is lax? The prosecution rate is increasing.”
“It is very clear that the justice system has never been as strict as it is now in terms of imprisonment,” he concluded.
• On the slowness of the justice system: “It is beyond dispute”
The Minister of Justice aroused the “distrust” of the French towards the judicial institution, a mistrust that, according to him, is expressed in “three points”: the “slowness” of the justice system, the “complexity” and juvenile justice.
On the first point, Eric Dupond-Moretti acknowledged the slowness of the French justice system: “It is true, it is indisputable”.
To speed up the pace, Eric Dupond-Moretti highlighted the efforts he says have been made to bolster the human resources allocated to the judiciary, starting with the clerks, who are “more than 10,000 today”. “As for magistrates, we are now at 9,090 – 50 will be hired next year.”
“Nowadays when I meet the magistrates, people talk to me about teams around the magistrate and no longer about the lack of magistrates,” the minister assured. “I think we’re close to the right number.” All this “goes toward an acceleration, but it doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye,” he insisted.
• Returning to the lawyer’s dress: “I don’t forbid myself anything”
Has Eric Dupond-Moretti put his dress away for good? His arrival at the Ministry of Justice in July 2020 ended the career of one of France’s most famous lawyers. Whoever goes by the nickname “acquittal” (referring to the many acquittals he’s been awarded, editors note) doesn’t rule out a return to the bar.
“I don’t forbid myself anything and I don’t say anything about my future anymore,” the minister replied to Bruce Toussaint who questioned him about the future of his professional career.
A way to guard against any change of mind, after an unfortunate first episode. In 2018, he had indeed completely ruled out the idea of ever becoming a minister. “Nobody would get the silly, totally absurd, preposterous, improbable idea of offering me this,” he assured. “And I would really never take something like that.”
• About his charge: “I didn’t want to resign”
“No, no, no, I didn’t want to stop.” Despite of his charge last July for “illegal divestment”, Eric Dupond-Moretti assures: did not consider leaving his post. For him, this affair is “a war waged by certain union representatives”. He claims to have “explained extensively to the judges” and makes sure to be “completely” minister.
On a human level, the minister admitted that this charge was “not easy”. Especially for his relatives. “My mother was sad and she didn’t understand that her son was being accused,” he said.
• About Eric Zemmour: he is a “racist” and a “negationist”
interrogates on Eric ZemmourEric Dupond-Moretti responded to the words of the polemicist who, in his book, criticizes the Sandler family’s choice to bury their children who are victims of Mohammed Merah in Israel.
“I hope some will open their eyes,” said the attorney general of the essayist, who still questions his presidential election intentions but is making headway in the polls.
The former lawyer for Abdelkader Merah (the terrorist’s brother, NLDR) described Eric Zemmour as “racist, denialist”, while recalling that he had been convicted of inciting racial hatred.
“For the time being, he is a polemicist, talented, journalist, writer. What is his program? (…) I would like to know what he proposes about justice”, the minister concluded.