Monday, September 27

Six NGOs launch group action against “facies checks”

For the first time in France, a “group action” is carried out before the Council of State to try to force the authorities to put an end to the “facies checks”, a real abscess of fixation of the criticisms addressed to the police forces. in general and to the national police in particular.

Six NGOs (Amnesty International, Open Justice Initiative Society, Human Rights Watch, Pazapas Belleville, Community House for Solidarity Development and Interdisciplinary Justice Anti-discrimination Equality Network) are behind this procedure, introduced by the 2016 law called “Of modernization of justice of the XXIe century “, which aims to force the authorities to ” to cease “ Where ” put an end to ” a “Breach”, that is to say a dysfunction of the administrative apparatus. In this case, the persistence of controls deemed to be discriminatory.

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The motion, filed by Antoine Lyon-Caen, Slim Benachour and Alexandra Denis on behalf of the six associations – a block of 265 pages compiling legal arguments, testimonies, positions taken by the Defender of Rights or court decisions – also recommends the establishment of a system of ‘recording and traceability of controls or the possibility offered to persons controlled to declare their origin, with the sole aim of producing anonymized data and thus making it possible to analyze the phenomenon.

An aberration, according to Denis Jacob, general secretary of the Alternative Police union, which could lead to the creation of“An ethnic file”. For mee Lyon-Caen, “This new tool offers on the contrary an effective lever to force the State to act”, even if the “Legal path to achieve this is still unknown”, the procedure remaining unprecedented.

Shake up the official discourse

This second step comes as the The legal deadline of four months available to the State to open discussions with the requesting associations, since a formal notice received on January 27, has largely expired.

Major interest of the process, the action taken before the highest administrative court of the country does not require the identification of each victim – an obstacle to the denunciation of the facts – and no longer only calls into question the attitude of certain police officers. the occasion of a particular contentious operation, but the very organization of the State in matters of identity checks. It also risks upsetting an official discourse that had hitherto been established: in the absence of statistics on the origin of persons controlled, prohibited in France, it is impossible to attest to any discrimination.

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