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What the state of emergency means in France, where it's been declared following the Paris attacks

State of emergency in France

Sources

Process

When can it be declared?

State of emergency can only be declared on part or the totality of the Republic's territory in the following circumstances:

  • An imminent peril resulting from grave disturbances to public order, or
  • Events presenting, by their nature or gravity, the character of a public calamity

cf. Loi n°55-385, art. 1

How / how long

State of emergency is declared by decree of the cabinet of ministers.

It can only be extended beyond 12 days by passing a law.

cf. Loi n°55-385, art. 2

The law authorizing the extension of the state of emergency fixes its definitive duration.

Example: Algeria, 6 months (now revoked)

cf. Loi n°55-385, art. 3

If the government resigns, or if the National Assembly is dissolved, the law authorizing the extension is void 15 days after this event.

cf. Loi n°55-385, art. 4

Consequences

Movement of people, protected zones

Prefects may:

  • set up curfews to prohibit people or vehicles from roaming specific places at times fixed by decree
  • establish "secure / protected zones", where the stay of persons is regulated
  • prohibit "any person seeking to hinder, in any manner whatsoever, the actions of the government" from staying in part or the totality of their department

cf. Loi n°55-385, art. 5

House arrest

The Minister of the Interior may put under house arrest or restrain to a given city anyone "whose actions may be seen as harmful to public safety and order".

House arrest must allow those affected by it to live in a city or immediately near a city.

In no case may house arrest have for effect the creation of detention camps for the persons mentioned earlier.

The administrative authority shall take all necessary measure to ensure the wellbeing of persons under house arrest during the state of emergency.

cf. Loi n°55-385, art. 6

Closure of public places

The Minister of the Interior or the prefects may "order the temporary closure of theaters, pubs and meeting places" and "meetings of nature to cause or maintain disorder"

cf. Loi n°55-385, art. 8

Weapon forfeiture

The Minister of the Interior may "order the return of first-, fourth- and fifth-class weapons." (cf. Annex 1: Weapon classification in France)

Fifth-class weapons shall be exchanged for a receipt, and every measure shall be taken so that they may be given back to their owners in the state they were surrendered in.

cf. Loi n°55-385, art. 9

Searches & press

By express provision, the Minister of the Interior and the prefects may:

  • order homes to be searched "day or night"
  • "take all measures to ensure control of the press and radio."

The searches can be done without the supervision of a judge.

N.B. This needs to be explicitly 'enabled' via decree. So far, the November 14 decree n°2015-1475 hasn't opted into these particular measures.

cf. Loi n°55-385, art. 11

Military jurisdiction

Military jurisdiction, via an accompanying decree, may "assign to themselves crimes and offenses related to them".

This priority ends when the state of emergency ceases, but the cases they claimed remain theirs afterwards.

N.B. This needs to be explicitly 'enabled' via decree. So far, the November 14 decree n°2015-1475 hasn't opted into these particular measures.

cf. Loi n°55-385, art 12

Punishments

Refusal to comply with any of the measures described in articles 5, 6, 8, 9 and 11 (paragraph 2) of law n°55-385 is punishable either by:

  • imprisonment of up to two months
  • a 3750€ fine
  • or both

cf. Loi n°55-385, art. 13

Recourse

Anyone targeted by measures described in articles 5 and 6 of law n°55-385 (defining the state of emergency) can ask for the measure to be reversed. Their request is submitted to a consultative commission containing delegates from the designated department council.

The composition, choosing mode, and governing rules of the commission shall be fixed by a decree in State Council.

The same persons may submit a recourse for abuse of power to the relevant administrative court. That court will have to settle within the month the recourse has been submitted. In case of appeal, the decision of the State Council shall intervene in the three months of the appeal.

Should the jurisdictions mentioned above fail to rule within the deadlines set by the previous paragraph, execution of the measures taken in application of articles 5 or 6 shall cease.

cf. Loi n°55-385, art. 7

History

Since 1955 a state of emergency has been decreed six times:

Source: Wikipedia / State of Emergency: France

Annexes

Annex 1: Weapon classification in France

  • 1st category: Semi-automatic handguns with a caliber greater than 7.65 mm, semi-automatic rifles or repeating guns ? designed for military use.
  • 4th category: handguns not included in the first category, some long guns, smooth-bore rifles and pump shotguns
  • 5th category: other long guns that aren't in the fourth category like smooth-bore hunting rifles or shotguns with rifled barrels.

Source: Arme: Catégories d'usage + comment by @SeanJA

Annex 2: Law on the Freedom of the Press of 29 July 1881

In place of the confusing mass of legislation that preceded it, the Press Law established a number of basic principles. Publishing was liberalised, with the law requiring only that publishers present their names to the authorities and deposit two copies of every work.

The authorities were denied the power to suppress newspapers and the offence of délits d'opinion (crimes of opinion, or types of prohibited speech) was abolished. This had previously enabled prosecutions of critics of the government, monarchy and church, or of those who argued for controversial ideas on property rights.

The scope of libel was severely reduced, with the criteria for defamation being much more tightly defined. A limited number of "press offences" was retained, including outraging public morals, and insulting high-ranking public officials including the President of the Republic, heads of foreign states and ambassadors. The law also provided a right of reply for persons to respond to articles in which they were featured.

In addition, the law regulates advertising and permits property owners to forbid the posting of advertisements on their properties. References to the law are frequently seen on French walls where signs proclaim "Defense d'afficher - loi du 29 Juillet 1881" ("posters forbidden - law of 29 July 1881").

Source: Wikipedia / Law on the Freedom of the Press of 29 July 1881

Annex 3: French government communiqué, 14 November 2015

The council of ministers, summoned by the President of the Republic, assembled on November the 14th at midnight. According to the report of the Prime minister, the Minister of the Interior, and the Attorney General, a decree declaring the state of emergency has been adopted. It takes immediate effect on the entirety of French and Corsican territories. It allows among other things to limit the circulation of persons and to set up zones of protection and security.

A second decree has also been adopted to set up reinforced measures in all the cities in the Ile-de-France region. These dispositions allow putting any person whose activity is dangerous under house arrest, the temporary closure of theaters, weapons forfeiture and the ability to proceed with administrative searches.

Furthermore, the President of the Republic has immediately decided to restore border control. The customs service are mobilized towards this goal as well.

Schools and universities will be closed Saturday November 14th in Île-de-France and school trips will be cancelled.

Hospitals are on high alert. The Orsan plan has been set off.

The crisis cell for help to victims of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, of Justice, and Health, along with the police authority, has been activated.

A defence council has been summoned this saturday at 9AM. Already 1500 additional military troops have been mobilized. The President of the Republic will stay in Paris and won't be participating to the G20 summit. He will be represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and international development, and by the Minister of Finances and public accounting.

Source: elysee.fr

Owner

fasterthanlime commented Nov 13, 2015

Feel free to leave comments with better translation suggestions — I meant to translate it all by hand but was afraid to distort meaning by translating my understanding rather than the text itself.

“nature of meetings to cause or maintain disorder” probably means “meetings of a nature to cause or maintain disorder”?

Owner

fasterthanlime commented Nov 13, 2015

@lucaswerkmeister updated, thanks

Wiki link should probably link to the Conséquences section instead of 2015, i. e. https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89tat_d'urgence_en_France#Cons.C3.A9quences

Owner

fasterthanlime commented Nov 13, 2015

Wiki link should probably link to the Conséquences section instead of 2015,

done. Also added link to actual law

Thanks, and thank you for providing this, very helpful

passcod commented Nov 13, 2015

"whose actions prove harmful" may be more accurate as "whose actions may be seen as harmful" or better rephrasing.

passcod commented Nov 13, 2015

And it might be helpful to describe what 1st, 4th, and 5th class weaponry is, for those not familiar with the french classification.

passcod commented Nov 13, 2015

may be punishable by imprisonment of up to two months and or a fine of 3750€, or both.

Owner

fasterthanlime commented Nov 13, 2015

"whose actions prove harmful" may be more accurate as "whose actions may be seen as harmful" or better rephrasing.

fixed

may be punishable by imprisonment of up to two months and or a fine of 3750€, or both.

fixed

And it might be helpful to describe what 1st, 4th, and 5th class weaponry is, for those not familiar with the french classification.

looking that up

SeanJA commented Nov 13, 2015

Looks like it is talking about the old classifications:
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arme#Cat.C3.A9gories_d.27usage

1re catégorie : armes de poing semi-automatique dont le calibre est supérieur à 7,65 mm, tous les types de fusils semi-automatiques ou à répétition conçus pour un usage militaire. Les armes automatiques sont rangées dans cette catégorie mais elles ne sont pas disponibles à la vente pour les citoyens ordinaires.

4e catégorie : les armes de poing qui ne sont pas déjà dans la 1re catégorie (certains revolvers et certains pistolets), toute une gamme d'armes longues en fonction de certains critères fixés par la loi (longueur, nombre de cartouches contenues, etc.), depuis le décret de 1998, les armes de poing à un coup en .22 Long Rifle sont incluses dans cette catégorie de même que les fusils à pompe à canon lisse et les carabines semi-automatiques en .22 Long Rifle.


5e catégorie : armes longues qui ne relèvent pas de la quatrième catégorie, comme les fusils de chasse à canon lisse ou les fusils de chasse à canon rayé.

1st category: Semi-automatic handguns with a caliber greater than 7.65 mm, semi-automatic rifles or repeating guns ? designed for military use.

4th category: handguns not included in the first category, some long guns, smooth-bore rifles and pump shotguns

5th category: other long guns that aren't in the fourth category like smooth-bore hunting rifles or shotguns with rifled barrels.

SeanJA commented Nov 13, 2015

The new classifications use a letter system according to that page

Owner

fasterthanlime commented Nov 13, 2015

@SeanJA thanks a lot, I added the info + linked to the page and your comment

Owner

fasterthanlime commented Nov 14, 2015

Started reorganizing consequences from the actual law text rather than wikipedia

"If the government resigns, or if the National Assembly is dissoluted,"

to

"If the government resigns, or if the National Assembly is dissolved,"
Owner

fasterthanlime commented Nov 14, 2015

@gcmalloc good catch, fixed

Nice work!

Thanks for this!

rdancer commented Nov 14, 2015

Make it nicer:

s/first, fourth and fifth-class/first-, fourth- and fifth-class/

Subject-verb agreement:

s/the cases they claimed remains theirs/the cases they claimed remain theirs/

Good job!

Owner

fasterthanlime commented Nov 14, 2015

@rdancer fixed both, thanks!

Owner

fasterthanlime commented Nov 14, 2015

Added note about military jurisdiction + searches & press measures (art. 11 + 12) being opt-in and not 'enabled' yet.

ABISprotocol commented Jan 26, 2016 edited

In addition to the original decree n° 2015-1475 from November 14th 2015, on top of being extended beyond the original 12 days, being extended to three months through a dubious legislative process, the fascist corporation-state of France intends to approve this "state of emergency" for another several months with a bill to be submitted in early February. As noted in the linked article above, Hollande also wants to change the French constitution to make the state's emergency powers immune to legal challenges, while the French government continues to arrest and imprison people without trial, and disarm its population. (Edit: As of March 30, 2016, it has been reported that the French government has not yet been able to agree on how to strip away constitutional protections for the citizenry so that the government can more viciously attack the population, thus the proposed constitutional modifications have as of that date at least, not moved forward.)

For the purposes of this comment, I wish to define fascism as follows:

Fascism (pron.: /ˈfæʃɪzəm/) is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism that came to prominence in mid-20th century Europe. Fascists seek to unify their nation through a totalitarian state that promotes the mass mobilization of the national community, relying on a vanguard party to initiate a revolution to organize the nation on fascist principles. Hostile to democracy, liberalism, socialism, and communism, fascist movements share certain common features, including the veneration of the state, a devotion to a strong leader, and an emphasis on ultranationalism, ethnocentrism, and militarism. Fascism views political violence, war, and imperialism as a means to achieve national rejuvenation and asserts that "superior" nations and races should attain living space by displacing weak and inferior ones.

By way of comparison, the corporation-state of France is very similar to the corporation-state of the USA (EEUU) in this respect.

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