View Adopted: 2021.03.24
The author of the communication is Philippe Rudyard Bessis, a national of France born in Tunisia who was a dental surgeon at the time of the events. After he was struck from the register of the National Association of Dental Surgeons for life, he practiced law. He was also a freelance journalist for Indépendentaire, a trade journal for dentists for which he wrote a column entitled “Justice-Injustice”.
In relation to article 19, the author asserts that he was struck from the register because he had filed a complaint against Council of State judges and members of the professional disciplinary tribunals and had publicly criticized the tribunals. The author argues that, under article 19 (3) of the Covenant, the penalty imposed on him infringes on his freedom of expression. He also claims that the State party’s failure to protect him from unlawful interference with his freedom of expression and his right to a fair trial amounts to a violation of article 2 (3) of the Covenant. The rights guaranteed to him under article 14 of the Covenant were not respected during the proceedings and that the hearing at first instance, which resulted in his being struck off the register for life, had not been public. Moreover, the author registered an additional submission to the Committee presenting new claims. He argues that the State party has violated his rights under article 17 of the Covenant, read together with article 2 (3), as the prohibition on the simultaneous practice of law and dentistry constitutes arbitrary interference in his private life. The author also claims that article 25 of the Covenant, read together with article 2 (3), was violated and argues that he could not exercise the legal profession, which falls under public service as that term is used in article 25.
The Committee finds that the author’s claims under articles 17, 19 and 25 of the Covenant are inadmissible for failure to exhaust domestic remedies. The claims under articles 17 and 25 of the Covenant in his additional submission of July 2017 are inadmissible for not having been submitted in a timely manner. However, the author has sufficiently substantiated his claims under article 14 (1) of the Covenant and the Committee declares the communication admissible with respect to the claims raised under this article, read alone and together with article 2 (3) of the Covenant.
The Committee notes that, while the author has raised systemic issues relating to the functioning of professional disciplinary tribunals in France, he has not submitted sufficient evidence to demonstrate how, in this particular case, his rights have been violated under article 14 (1) of the Covenant. The author has not sufficiently demonstrated how the decision to strike him off the dental surgeons’ register was not commensurate with the charges against him, and no interference by the authorities has been demonstrated in the case at hand and that, at the time of the events, judges on professional disciplinary tribunals were in fact elected. Thus, the Committee is of the view that the author has not demonstrated how the various hearings that led to the judgment against him involved a violation of article 14 (1) of the Covenant, read alone and together with article 2 (3).
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