Philippe Courroye’s Fight Against His Transfer

Photo: Fred Dufour

“A manhunt” are the words that the Nanterre prosecutor Philippe Courroye used in late July in Le Figaro to announce his transfer by the Department of Justice. Validated by a decree from the President of the Republic, he appeals to the State Council about his appointment as Attorney General at the Paris Court of Appeals.

An appeal to the highest administrative court was announced Monday by his lawyer Claire Waquet. They filed a “motion for annulment” and a “motion to suspend execution.” The State Council announced on Wednesday that the complaint would be reviewed on September 6.

Already in July, the prosecutor criticized his transfer: “If the government has to issue a decree to transfer me against my will to the Paris Court of appeals, I will attack the government in front of the State Council.” The judge likened the decision to politically motivated “disciplinary action”. He also claimed to have requested a layoff to become a common lawyer in Paris.

After publication, however, his transfer was accepted by the Supreme Judicial Council, which advises appointment choices made by the Minister. But his lawyer said that a “special regime” was applied to Mr. Courroye.

This Ministry of Justice challenged the disciplinary aspect of this decision. The decision would aim to restore calm to Nanterre, where Courroye has been the director since 2007. Interviewed Tuesday in Libération, Christiane Taubira, Justice Minister, stated that, “the decision should have been made a long time ago.”

The services of the Ministry also recalled the criminal and disciplinary proceedings initiated against the prosecutor in the Bettencourt case. He is accused of trying to identify the sources of two journalists of Le Monde by seeking their phone bill.

The Bettencourt affair, which is named after one of the largest fortunes in France, created problems for the government of Nicolas Sarkozy in 2009, after several revelations about the alleged financing of Sarkozy’s 2007 campaign. Today she is set up in the Tribunal of the Grand Instance in Bordeaux.

Philippe Courroye is not just any magistrate. He is highly criticized for the way he handled the Bettencourt affair and also for being close to Nicolas Sarkozy. There is still considerable tension at Nanterre, which is one of the most important courts in France.

The USM, the majority union in the judiciary, is “satisfied” while MPJ, the right-leaning union, has denounced the “efficient proceedings.”



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