Monegasque criminal law
Criminal law is governed by the Criminal Code of September 28, 1967, the Criminal Procedure Code of April 2, 1963, Law No.1.299 of July 15, 2005 on freedom of public expression, Law No.1.362 of August 3, 2009 amended on anti-money laundering, anti-terrorism financing and anti-corruption, Law No.1.338 of September 7, 2007 on financial activities.
Monegasque criminal business law is very different from the French criminal business law. Some criminal offences do not exist in Monaco, e.g. misuse of company assets. It is based on a specific criminal procedure and has its own specific offences.
In the past years, the face of criminal law and criminal procedure law changed substantially, in particularly to adapt to the new constraints imposed by the Council of Europe (MONEYVAL Committee, GRECO).
With regard to anti-money laundering, Law No. 1.322 of 9 November 2006 and Law No. 1.462 of 28 June 2018 have substantially amended the applicable rules, enlarging the list of the money laundering predicate offenses, and introducing the case of presumptive money laundering in the Penal Code.
Bill 1.041 on various criminal measures to combat money laundering and fraud and counterfeiting of non-cash means of payment aims to reform the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure in order to transpose Monaco’s international obligations in this area (Directive (EU) 2018/1673, Directive (EU) 2019/713, Council of Europe Warsaw Convention No. 198 on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism).
In corruption matters, Law No. 1.394 of 9 October 2012 and Law No. 1.462 of 28 June 2018 have reshaped the existing offenses, in accordance with the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption of 27 January 1999.
With regard to cybercrime, Law No.1.435 of 8 November 2016 has incorporated into Monegasque law the Council of Europe (Budapest) Convention on Cybercrime: introduction of new offenses in the criminal code (offences involving information systems, digital identity theft); modernization of traditional criminal offenses (criminal threats); modernization of criminal proceedings rules (search of computer systems, seizure of computer data).
On the recommendations of the OECD, the penalties for breach of professional secrecy have been aggravated by Law No. 1.444 of 19 December 2016.
Law No. 1.464 of 10 December 2018 strengthened the protection of persons against non-public defamation and insult (amendment of the Penal Code) and public defamation and insult (amendment of Law No. 1.299 of 15 July 2005 on freedom of public expression, modified). The reform takes into account defamatory or abusive language through the “use of a false name, false quality, false identity, or any other means of concealing its real identity”.
A recent major reform of the Principality’s criminal policy was carried out by Law No. 1.478 of 12 November 2019, which modernized the concept of the sentence (introduction of day-fines, community service, partial suspension, period of day-parole and placement in society,).
Law No. 1.494 of 8 July 2020 created the offence of fraudulent organisation or aggravation of insolvency, which punishes fraud resulting from the various acts of impoverishment carried out by the debtor in order to claim his insolvency and thus prevent the recovery of the debt from his assets.
Finally, Law No. 1.517 of 23 December 2021 carries out a wide-ranging reform of sexual offences and crimes (rape, sexual assault, sexual exhibition, sexual harassment, sexual blackmail, sexual assault). Law No 1.516 of 23 December 2021 created the offence of fraudulent abuse of ignorance or weakness. Law No 1.513 of 3 December 2021 criminalised, among other things, harassment in schools, hazing, racketeering among adolescents, provocation to commit suicide, the exploitation of an image or representation that undermines dignity or is used to threaten or blackmail, and repeated malicious telephone calls or messages.
With regard to criminal procedure, governed by the Code of Criminal Procedure promulgated on 2 April 1963, Law No. 1.394 of 9 October 2012 introduced new special investigation techniques, such as the sound and image fixation of certain places or vehicles, the procedure of infiltration and anonymous testimony.
The police custody regime was recasted and adjusted by Laws No. 1.343 of December 26, 2007 and No. 1.399 of June 25, 2013 (criteria of detention, guarantee of human rights, right to silence, right to counsel …).
The rules of criminal procedure relating to the search and seizure of computer data were modernized by Law No. 1.435 of 8 November 2016.
The provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure relating to the summons to appear in court and the arrest warrant issued by the criminal court have been amended by Law No. 1.449 of 4 July 2017.
Law No 1.513 of 3 December 2021 adjusted the rules on juvenile criminal justice governed by Law No 740 of 25/03/1963 (educational measures).
Law No 1.517 of 23 December 2021 extended to incapacitated adults victims the protective procedural provisions for minor victims concerning offences against the person, allowing the presence of a psychologist, a doctor, a member of the family of the adult or the ad hoc administrator to be requested during the victim’s hearing or confrontation with the alleged perpetrator.
A major reform of criminal procedure is to come in the areas of preliminary investigation, alternative measures to prosecution (Bill No. 1030), pre-trial investigation and review (Bill No. 1031).
It should still be noted that the Law No. 1.421 of 1 December 2015 on various measures on State responsibility and remedies has introduced a procedure for the reopening of criminal proceedings in the event of a decision of the EHCR finding a violation to the European Convention on Human Rights or its additional protocols.