Social Justice During Pandemic
I am writing to consult you on the issue of justice during the Covid-19 pandemic. As we all know, this epidemic has hit every state institution, and Justice is no exception. I think we have to take some urgent measures in order to solve this situation as best as possible.
If we analyze the international situation, we will see that some states have already taken measures in this regard. The United States, for example, has reacted to this situation by adopting measures designed to avoid any risk. Of course, we must consider the fact that France and the United States have different legal systems, but the question is valid for both: How to ensure public order and protect the health of the population at the same time?
First of all, they chose to preside over some processes from distance, using video. However, this method needs to be carefully examined to see if it has the same efficiency in solving cases.
Among the most important measures taken, we find the postponement of the trials, the postponement of sentences, as well as the suspension of the criminal prosecution for several low-level crimes. These are necessary measures that could be applied in France. But it is important to distinguish between low-level and high-level crimes. The latter represent a high social danger, and their postponement could have serious consequences. Therefore, I propose that during the epidemic, the suspects be detained in special places, under quarantine. Thus, they will be protected against the virus, and the society will be protected against dangerous acts.
In this situation, a careful analysis of the important causes, which cannot be postponed, is necessary. Among these we can mention the causes regarding the protection of children, murders and human trafficking.
At the same time, the isolation of courts and tribunals is urgent, as they are places exposed to a high degree of risk. Any infected person who enters such an institution can easily spread the virus. Thus, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, defendants, employees and civilians will all be at risk.
The decision to postpone the trial has provoked adverse reactions in the US, claiming that the principle of speed of the proceedings is violated. I trust, however, that in France people will understand that in this situation respecting health is a priority of any other thing.
On the other hand, it has been decided to release some elderly detainees and those vulnerable to this virus. This is a recommended measure because older people are more exposed to the virus. However, I consider that before taking this measure we must carefully analyze the general situation and the level of danger of the convict.
Prisons are very crowded places, and a spread of the virus inside them would have terrible consequences. The idea is that at this moment, anyone entering a prison is a risk. Therefore, at this time other people should not be incarcerated, and if this is urgent, they should be tested and locked in specially arranged places.
Finally, I think that France, like the other states, is today facing an extremely difficult situation, which makes the functioning of justice difficult. In this case, it is necessary to take measures to avoid any risk, but not to reduce Justice to silence.