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ECtHR case summary Brusco v. France (14/10/2010)


Mr Brusco was questioned by the police about the incident. On 2 and 3 June 1999 the two presumed aggressors were taken into police custody and placed under investigation. One of them accused Mr Brusco of having masterminded the attack. The investigating judge issued a warrant for the police to question witnesses and conduct all the investigations necessary to establish the truth.

At 5.50 p.m. on 7 June 1999 Mr Brusco was stopped and taken into police custody. He was made to swear “to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”, as witnesses could be required to do under Article 153 of the CPP. He was then questioned by the police and confessed to having been involved in the incident and having hired two men to “scare” B.M. At 2.10 p.m. on 8 June he was allowed to see his lawyer. At the end of his police custody Mr Brusco was placed under investigation for aiding and abetting attempted murder, and remanded in custody.

Mr Brusco complained that he had been obliged to take an oath before being questioned, and that he had been deprived of the right to remain silent and not to incriminate himself.

In this case the Court stress the importance of the right to remain silent and the right not to incriminate oneself, which are generally accepted international legal principles at the heart of the notion of a fair trial.

The Court found that the fact that he applicant was made to take an oath before answering the questions of the police amounted to a form of pressure, and that the threat of criminal proceedings

(should he be found to have committed perjury) must have placed him under even greater pressure; this sort of pressures amount to a form of coercion which goes against art. 6. Also it is noted that a person has a right to be assisted by a lawyer during police interrogations and to be informed of the right to remain silent and not to incriminate oneself.

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