Six national and international NGOs including Amnesty International France and Human Rigths Watch have decided to seize the Council of State to put an end to the police checks on the face, reveals franceinfo Thursday, July 22.
“This group action is a novelty, it is the first time”, underlines this Thursday on franceinfo, Me Antoine Lyon-Caen, lawyer at the Council of State and at the Court of Cassation and which represents the six NGOs having decided to seize the Council of State to put an end to the police checks on the faces and the sanction. Once the judge is seized, he can “order the necessary measures so that these illegal controls disappear”, and U.S “let us collaborate in the work of justice” by formulating “all the measures useful for the disappearance of this scourge”. The lawyer even claims that “this action should serve the police officers who have better things to do” only “unnecessary tasks, and this is the case with identity checks” most of which are facies and therefore “illegal”.
On January 27, these same associations had already given formal notice to the State, asking for the end of these checks based on the appearance of the person and deemed to be discriminatory. “This practice is widespread. It is observed all over the country”, say the six NGOs. They denounce “a humiliating, degrading practice”, and recall that “checks based on the physical characteristics of the inspected person associated with their real or suspected origin” are illegal under French law and international human rights law.
The six associations (the Community House for Solidarity Development, Pazapas, Interdisciplinary Justice Anti-discrimination Equality Network, Amnesty International France, Human Rights Watch and Open Society Justice Initiative) sent a 220-page request to the administrative judge, which contained numerous testimonies, including police officers.
They hope to force the state to reform identity checks, create a system of supporting documents for those checked and an independent and efficient complaint process. The associations are also calling for better training of the police, recalling that it “do not accuse individual police officers of being racist. They operate within a system that has allowed these practices to spread and take hold.”
The French state has been pinned down several times for allowing the offense of facies to persist during police checks. Recently, on June 8, 2021, the Paris Court of Appeal, once again, condemned the State for “serious misconduct” because of the discriminatory identity checks to which three high school students had been subjected in a train station. Parisienne in 2017 when they returned from a school trip.
Me Lyon-Caen regrets, moreover, “total silence” of the State which has not shown “compassion”, “nothing”, with regard to the victims of these facies checks in the face of a practice which is “generalized”, according to the six NGOs.