“Too much is too much, it is now time for France to exempt itself from the laws of peace to definitively destroy the Islamo-fascism of our territory”. Pronounced a few minutes after the attack in the Notre-Dame basilica, which left three dead Thursday, October 29 in Nice (Alpes-Maritimes), the words of the mayor of the city give food for thought. Christian Estrosi wants “France to be exempt from the laws of peace” … Marine Le Pen did not say anything else when she asked that our country adopt “war legislation” the next day of the assassination of Samuel Paty, the professor of Conflans-Saint-Honorine beheaded on October 16. A proposal that the president of the National Rally (RN) reiterated this Thursday after the killings in Nice. The deputy (LR) of the Alpes-Maritimes Eric Ciotti declared: “We must stop with the defense of these pseudo individual freedoms”.
The macabre chain of Islamist attacks once again calls into question the rule of law – which prevents in particular from taking measures against an individual before he has committed a crime. After the terrorist attack in Carcassonne and Trèbes (Aude), on March 23, 2018, former Prime Minister Manuel Valls called for considering the administrative detention of individuals subject to an “S” sheet (indicating an intelligence surveillance) most dangerous.
Measures contrary to the Constitution
At the end of 2016, Nicolas Sarkozy, then a candidate for the right-wing primary, already wanted “to place in a closed detention center (…) all French individuals on file and likely to constitute a threat to national security”. Problem, the Council of State swept, in 2015, any idea of preventive detention, which would be contrary to article 66 of the Constitution according to which “no one can be arbitrarily detained”.
This is why the RN, and therefore also Eric Ciotti at LR, or Christian Estrosi, are now asking France to choose to free itself from certain principles of law in order to fight terrorism. This exerts very strong pressure on Emmanuel Macron, who is in the process of preparing a bill to fight separatism. And since there is no question of constitutional reform, this bill will naturally fit into the already existing framework of law.
A political “trap” for Emmanuel Macron
So, even if it will strengthen the republican arsenal, it will remain a “law of peace”, to use the words of Christian Estrosi. And this is where the political trap opens for the head of state. In a France under the double cover of Covid-19 and terrorism, the French expect protection and efficiency.
“By putting in the minds of people that, in order to protect them, we must renounce the rule of law, they put us in difficulty,” explains a ministerial adviser. Because, suddenly, whatever we do, we will seem lax, while we are, in fact, responsible and attached to the rule of law … Yes, it is a trap. “In the meantime, Emmanuel Macron gave the beginning of an answer by addressing the Niçois and the French this Thursday:” Let us not give in to any spirit of terror “.