Some measures against terrorism become permanent in France

The President of the French Republic passed, last 30 October 2017, Law 2017-1510, to reinforce internal security and fight against terrorism. The norm took effect the following day, when it was published in the Official Journal. The immediate consequence was the conclusion of the state of emergency in which France had lived since 13 November 2015. The new law makes some measures applied during the state of emergency permanent and specifies others to reduce their effects on civil rights.

The most noteworthy measures are:

  • To establish perimeters of protection to give support to events or venues with a high level of exposure (sports, cultural events…).
  • To allow for the closure of places of worship that incite or advocate terrorism or incite hatred and discrimination.
  • To allow the administrative authority to implement controls and measures for individual monitoring of persons who may be a particularly serious threat.
  • To allow government delegates to order, with prior legal authorisation, the monitoring of places frequented by persons linked to terrorism.
  • To allow for administrative investigations to be carried out on civil servants at risk of being radicalised.
  • To carry out identity checks in border areas and at a perimeter of 10 Kms from airports and international railway stations.
  • To adapt French law to the Passenger Name Record (PNR)[1].
  • To extend the length and the perimeter of control of border areas.
  • To introduce a new system to monitor communications.
  • To create a new penal offence: parents who incite their children to commit terrorist acts or to travel abroad for this reason will incur a sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of 225,000€. They may also lose parental power.

According to official sources of the French government, this legal reform is motivated by the necessity to adapt the legal corpus to fight effectively against terrorism within the framework of common law and end the state of emergency the country was exposed to. It is important to remember that the state of emergency in France was conceived as a way of addressing exceptional circumstances when need be; limiting the exercise of certain public freedoms like freedom of assembly and demonstration; finally, it gave the administration special powers over common law.

Links of interest:

[1] A record of the names of passengers who enter or leave French territory by sea or by air in order to allow for a better monitoring of risk-related movements.


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