In Geneva, eavesdropping and a deleterious atmosphere

No filmmaker worth his salt would want such a flawed script. A Geneva inspector listening to conversations between defendants and their lawyers while noting their remarks on a file. Machiavellian logic would have it that this fine sleuth – also trained in the old system whose excellence is praised by the police unions – hears such confidences without transcribing anything and therefore without admitting a gross breach of the protection of professional secrecy. But no. And eight years later, boom! The pot of roses is discovered and the news causes a small earthquake, even if everyone still pinches themselves to believe it.

Read also: “Hello, Master?”: The risks of judicial wiretapping

Normal. All the ingredients are there to make it up the towers. The defense of construction crooks is indignant, sniffs out the plot, denounces the possible involvement of the prosecution and seizes all imaginable instances to establish the facts, sanction those responsible and, in passing, blow up this mammoth dossier for which only the prison sentences were still being challenged on appeal. Legitimately, the Bar Association is also concerned about an attack described as extremely serious and unacceptable to a pillar of the rule of law.

Political precipitation

While waiting to learn whether a police officer or a prosecutor would have conducted this investigation in a biased manner, multiplied procedural errors or exploited evidence obtained illegally (which would justify a recusal), would have violated his oath (a disciplinary sanction), or even would have pushed the cork to the point of having to answer for an abuse of authority (criminal), the fever also won the political world. This is a constant in Geneva, where institutional relations are tense, where everything instantly takes on gigantic proportions and where some fall very quickly in an attempt to destabilize the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

This case is no exception. The Grand Council’s Management Control Commission, whose members have had trouble with the courts and openly harbor grudges, has already set in motion to carry out its little investigation without bothering with the separation of powers and without even wait to find out if the judicial system is able to remedy the slippages. Long gone are the days when this same parliament refused to lift the parliamentary immunity of a magistrate in the famous Noga case in order to avoid a burdensome measure for justice in general. Today, everything is a pretext for tripping up in an atmosphere that has become, we can say, deleterious.


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