Resigns at the end of the year: Attorney General Nicolas Dubuis.
The public prosecutor’s office works, but there are improvements that urgently need to be implemented, Dubuis told the media in Sion on Monday. He will work towards that in the coming months. After completing this work, I will submit my resignation to the Valais Grand Council by December 31, 2023 at the latest,” explained Dubuis. His term of office would have lasted until the end of 2025.
“It is a well-considered decision, in line with my desire, to find a position in which I can deal more with the law, my passion, and have to do less administrative work,” said Dubuis.
His deputy Lucie Wellig, who was not present at the media conference, had already submitted her resignation at the end of September on Friday. She did not want to comment on the reasons for her departure to the Keystone-SDA news agency on Monday.
Report spoke of crisis
In a report published in November on the human resources department of the Attorney General’s Office, the Judicial Council, a cantonal control body, sharply criticized the authority. He described the situation within the Attorney General’s Office as “worrying” and spoke of “a crisis”. The reason for the administrative investigation by the Judicial Council was the resignation and controversial reappointment of two prosecutors in 2021.
The report pointed in particular to shortcomings in the distribution of dossiers and the work within the Attorney General’s Office. Among other things, the distribution of tasks, which was difficult to understand, was criticized. The attorney general and his deputy are mainly involved in administrative tasks and neglect their other tasks, especially the investigation files, it said.
The Judicial Council made five recommendations at the time. Among other things, he called for the Attorney General to be relieved, with the appointment of the Deputy Attorney General to head the central office and the creation of a strong secretariat.
The report also suggested balancing the prosecutors’ workloads on a regular basis. Cases that could become statute-barred should be prioritized. In addition, the control body recommended that the public prosecutor’s office should improve its communication.
Many tasks for one office
Currently, the Attorney General is required to investigate, direct, communicate and represent, Dubuis listed his duties. “A single man simply does not have the resources to do everything and I thank the Judicial Council for making these recommendations,” he told the media.
The Attorney General also recalled that he had been demanding additional funds from politicians for “years” to support him and his judges in their tasks.
The Attorney General’s Office is particularly responsible for large cases such as complex economic cases, cases involving well-known personalities or officials, or medical errors.
The Judicial Council’s report was not the first to criticize the workings of the prosecutor’s office. The Attorney General had previously been repeatedly criticized by the Grand Council.
In May 2021, the cantonal parliament decided to hold the re-election of the magistrate behind closed doors, allegedly to “protect his personality”. Dubuis was eventually re-elected with a narrow majority. (SDA)