France

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Overview

The Fichier National Automatisé des Empreintes Génétiques (Automated National File of Genetic Prints) is the French national DNA database. A central DNA database was first proposed in France in 1996. The following year, a bill was filed relating to the implementation of a national database for identification of child sex offenders. In June 1998, a law on the prevention of sexually-related crimes created a national DNA database. The implementation, originally planned for 1999, was finally completed in 2001. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks on the USA in 2001, the French government increased the scope of the database to include DNA related to other serious criminal offences, such as voluntary manslaughter, criminal violence and terrorism. A further “law for interior safety” introduced on March 18, 2003 expanded the scope still further to cover almost all violent crimes to people or property, serious crimes such as drug trafficking, simple thefts, and almost all small offenses, except traffic offenses. Samples are collected both from suspects and convicted persons.

In 2016, further changes were made for counter-terrorism purposes.

As at October 1, 2003, the French national DNA database contained the DNA profiles of approximately 8,000 convicted criminals and another 3,200 suspects. In 2006, the number of entries grew to 330,000. In May 2007, this number approached 500,000 entries. In December 2009, there were 1.27 million entries. The DNA database contained DNA profiles from 280,399 convicted persons, 62,258 unmatched crime scene profiles and 934,112 suspects at end 2009. According to Interpol, the number of entries grew to 1.69 million in 2011. The DNA database contained 98,000 crime scene DNA profiles, 1,592,500 reference DNA profiles from individuals, 270 missing persons' DNA profiles and 420 other DNA profiles. At 31st August 2014, the DNA database contained DNA profiles from 2,655,381 individuals and 237, 217 unidentified traces from crime scenes.

Resources

Detailed Analysis

I. Law on Point

Code of Criminal Procedure[1]

Law No. 98-468 of June 17, 1998[2]

Law No. 2001-1062 of November 15, 2001[3]

Law No. 2003-239 of March 18, 2003[4]

Decree No. 2000-413 of May 18, 2000[5]

Decree No. 2002-697 of April 30, 2002[6]

Decree No. 2004-470 of May 25, 2004[7]

Decree No. 2004-71 of May 25, 2004[8]

Decree No. 2009-785 of June 23, 2009.[9]

Deliberation No. 2008-113 of May 14, 2008[10]

Circular of the Ministry of Justice of 27 July 2004[11]

II. Entry Criteria

Persons convicted of or charged with a serious offence (list in law) and crime scene stains when deemed relevant[12]

French law provides that genetic profiles of persons convicted of one certain enumerated offences are to be entered onto the Fichier National Automatisé des Empreintes Génétiques [Automated National Database of Genetic Fingerprints] (hereinafter “FNAEG”). [13] The crimes specificed are: (1) offences of a sexual nature;[14] (2) crimes against humanity, felonies involving intentional attacks on human life, torture and acts of barbarity, intentional violent acts, threatening personal violence, drug trafficking, offences against human liberty, human trafficking, procuring, the exploitation of begging, and the endangerment of minors;[15] (3) felonies and misdemeanors which constitute theft, extortion, fraud, destruction, damage and threats to attack property;[16] (4) violations of the fundamental interests of the nation, terrorist acts, forging currency, and criminal associations;[17] (5) certain other misdemeanors;[18] and (6) offences relating to handling or laundering of the proceeds of crimes included in numbers (1) to (5).[19]

The DNA profiles of persons against whom there is serious or corroborating evidence rendering it likely that they have committed any of the offences mentioned above are also stored in this database by order of the judicial police officer either automatically or at the request of the district prosecutor or of the investigating judge. [20] French law also permits genetic profiles derived from unidentified crime scene stains collected during the investigation into causes of death or missing persons to be store in FNAEG . [21]

III. Sample Collection

French law permits any district prosecutor, upon written order, to compel a genetic sample from any person sentenced to imprisonment for not less than ten years for analysis and inclusion in FNAEG. [22] In all other cases, refusal to consent to DNA sampling is publishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of €15,000.[23] When the underlying offense has been allegedly committed by a person already convicted of a felony, refusal to submit to the taking of a DNA sample is publishable to up to two years in prison and a fine of €30,000.[24] Thus, while the law is tetchily silent on the question of consent,[25] refusal to consent is optional in only the most illusory of senses.

IV. Removal Criteria

Convicted persons’ profiles are kept for forty years after conviction upon their eightieth birthday, suspects’ profiles are removed by motion of the prosecutor or the individual upon grounds that their storage no longer serves its original purpose, and crime scene stains are deleted forty years after they have been analyzed[26] French law directs that the genetic profiles of persons suspected of the above-enumerated crimes can be erased on any district prosecutor’s instructions, either on their own initiative or at the request of the suspect, where keeping them is no longer necessary in light of the reason for which they were created. [27] For example, a suspects’ profile must be removed when insufficient evidence is produced linking him or her to the suspected crime or in the case that they are ultimately acquitted of all charges. Convicted offenders’ profiles are removed from the database forty years after their conviction or when they reach the age of eighty years. DNA profiles which are derived from unidentified biological material are removed forty years after analysis.[28]

V. Sample Retention

Convicted persons’ samples are retained for forty years after their conviction or until their eightieth birthday; suspects’ samples are kept until conviction or acquittal: i.e. procedurally, DNA samples are treated as regular evidence[29]

VI. Database Access

Decisions regarding database access are made by the Direction Centrale de la Police Judiciaire—Sous Direction de la Police Technique et Scientifique [Central Directorate of the Judicial Police—Sub-directorate of the Technical and Scientific Police].[30] Judicial police officers have only access to the identity, place of birth and the date of birth. Judicial police officers and magistrates are also informed on the matches that might be found in the database. DNA profiles can be exchanged with the other EU Member States through Interpol or rogatory letters on the condition of legal compatibility. As France has signed the Convention of Prüm, it will have automatic access to the database of its contracting partners in the near future. FNAET is an Oracle database with WEB architecture.


References

  1. Code of Criminal Procedure (hereinafter “C. Pr. Pén.”), Book III, Title XX [Du fichier national automatisé des empreintes génétiques] [The National Computerized Genetic Information Database] (Fr.).
  2. Law No. 98-468 of June 17, 1998, Journal Officiel de la République Française [J.O.] [Official Gazette of France] June 18, 1998, p. 9255 (Fr.).
  3. Law No. 2001-1062 of November 15, 2001, Journal Officiel de la République Française [J.O.] [Official Gazette of France] November 16, 2001, p. 18215 (Fr.).
  4. Law No. 2003-239 of March 18, 2003, Journal Officiel de la République Française [J.O.] [Official Gazette of France], March 19, 2003, p. 4761 (Fr.).
  5. Decree No. 2000-413 of May 18, 2000, Journal Officiel de la République Française [J.O.] [Official Gazette of France], May 19, 2000, Text No. 16 (Fr.).
  6. Decree No. 2002-697 of April 30, 2002, Journal Officiel de la République Française [J.O.] [Official Gazette of France], May 3, 2002, Text No. 69 (Fr.).
  7. Decree No. 2004-470 of May 25, 2004, Journal Officiel de la République Française [J.O.] [Official Gazette of France], June 2, 2004, Text No. 21 (Fr.).
  8. Decree No. 2004-471 of May 25, 2004, Journal Officiel de la République Française [J.O.] [Official Gazette of France], June 2, 2004, Text No. 22 (Fr.).
  9. Decree No. 2009-785 of June 23, 2009, Journal Officiel de la République Française [J.O.] [Official Gazette of France], June 25, 2009, Text No. 16 (Fr.).
  10. Deliberation No. 2008-113 of May 14, 2008, Journal Officiel de la République Française [J.O.] [Official Gazette of France], June 25, 2009, Text No. 98 (Fr.).
  11. E.U. 9445/1/06 at 6.
  12. See EU Current Practices at 49.
  13. C. Pr. Pén., Book III, Title XX, Art. 706-55.
  14. See C. Pr. Pén., Art. 706-47; Penal Code (hereinafter “C. Pén.”) Art. 222-32.
  15. See C. Pén., Arts. 221-1 to 221-5, 222-1 to 222-18, 222-34 to 222-40, 224-1 to 224-8, 225-4-1 to 225-4-4, 225-5 to 225-10, 225-12-1 to 225-12-3, 225-12-5 to 225-12-7 and 227-18 to 227-21.
  16. See C. Pén., Arts. 311-1 to 311-13, 312-1 to 312-9, 313-2 and 322-1 to 322-14.
  17. See C. Pén., Arts. 410-1 to 413-12, 421-1 to 421-4, 442-1 to 442-5 and 450-1.
  18. See Defense Code, Arts. L 2353-4 and L 2339-1 to L 2339-11.
  19. See C. Pén., Arts. 321-1 to 321-7 and 324-1 to 324-6.
  20. C. Pr. Pén., Art. 706-54.
  21. C. Pr. Pén., Art. 706-54.
  22. C. Pr. Pén., Art. 706-56, § 1.
  23. C. Pr. Pén., Art. 706-56, § 2.
  24. 127147682, Art. 706-56, § 2.
  25. The one exception being that mentioned previously admitting of the coercive taking of a sample from anyone sentenced to more than ten years imprisonment.
  26. See EU Current Practices at 49-50.
  27. C. Pr. Pén., Art. 706-54.
  28. See EU Current Practices at 50.
  29. See EU Current Practices at 50.
  30. “Il existe également un comité de contrôle composé d’un magistrat du parquet hors hiérarchie assisté de trois spécialistes (un magistrat, un informaticien et un généticien) qui s’assure du bon fonctionnement du fichier conformément à la législation en vigueur.” E.U. 9445/1/06 at [***n.***]