Print version ISSN 0041-9060
LAGEOT, Céline. THE LACK OF POLITICAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE FRENCH PRESIDENT UNDER THE CONSTITUTION OF 1958 AND THE OLD ARTICLE 68. Vniversitas [online]. 2009, n.118, pp. 217-227. ISSN 0041-9060.
Since 1962 and except in the political context of cohabitation, the French President has become the First leader of the political system, instead of the Government and the prime minister. However, in regard with article 20, 67 and 68 of the Constitution, the Head of State is still not politically responsible. Until the constitutional revision in February 23, 2007, there was only one exception to this principle, the case of "high treason". "The President of the Republic is responsible for the acts achieved in the performance of his duties only in the event of high treason", said the old article 68. Not only was the procedure exceptional for the Head of State but also the jurisdiction. He could only have been judged in this context by the High Court of Justice. The Constitutional Council widened the principle of the immunity of the Head of State in a controversial decision in 1999 but the "Cour de Cassation" contradicted the Constitutional Council while returning to the traditional principle of temporary immunity in its major decision Breisacher in 2001. In order to calm down many of the politicians and lawyers, the Chirac candidate advanced in his electoral program of 2002 the idea of the meeting of a Commission to think of the criminal status of the Head of State. The old procedure of "high treason" is nowadays dead; the High Court of Justice too. All that has been changed in February 23, 2007 into a new procedure of "dismissal", in accordance with the conclusions of the "Avril Commission".
Keywords : Head of State; lack of political responsibility; high treason; immunity; privilege of procedure; privilege of jurisdiction; french presidents; offenses against the state safety; judicial process.