• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Paris attacks aftermath
States of emergency may have no time limits
Photo: AFP

States of emergency may have no time limits

The Local/AFP · 3 Dec 2015, 11:24

Published: 03 Dec 2015 11:24 GMT+01:00

A proposed change to France's constitution would not place a time limit on states of emergency of the kind introduced after the Paris attacks, according to a draft text seen by AFP on Thursday.

However, the draft change to the constitution says exceptional measures taken during a state of emergency -- such as powers of house arrest -- could be prolonged "for a maximum period of six months" after the original state of emergency was declared.

The exact duration of any specific state of emergency would remain fixed by law at the time of its introduction, as is the case now, according to the draft text.

Sources said the legal framework to extend special powers beyond the current three-month limit, set out by President Francois Hollande after last month's attacks on Paris, will be put to ministers on December 23rd.

Senior parliamentary figures were expected to examine the proposed changes later Thursday, government sources said.

The special powers have allowed authorities to ban public demos and enabled police to carry out thousands of raids on addresses across the country.

The government has insisted the emergency measures are needed to ensure security but criticism over the lengthening of the state of emergency is growing.

Lawyers and supporters of activists who have been placed under house arrest to prevent them from protesting during the UN climate talks taking place outside Paris have accused the government of abusing the powers.

This week a leading human rights lawyer Patrick Baudouin told The Local that "there is no justification for the state of emergency to last so long."

“This state of emergency grants the forces of order like the police and the army exceptional powers that puts people’s liberties at risks – whether it’s night-time raids on their homes, house arrests, or the ban on demonstrations," he said.

Critics like the lawyer Baudouin, who is the Honorary President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) say the ban on demonstrations restricts social movements and a vital element of the democratic process.

“The ban on demos goes beyond the need to avert the risk of any terrorist attack. It has been implemented to avoid any trouble rather than an attack,” he said.

“If Air France workers want to strike tomorrow, are they going to ban them too?”

Story continues below…

"All these measures have been taken without any of the natural checks of government from the judiciary. We are there to protect liberties, but we have had no involvement,” Baudouin said.

SEE ALSO: What does the state of emergency mean for France?

 

The Local/AFP (news.france@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The worst scams to avoid whilst driving in France
A French motorway. Photo: Maelick/Flickr

Don't get caught out by these common ploys gangs of thieves have used to target motorists in France.

Hoax bomb found at Paris Metro station
Photo: AFP

Bomb squad called in to a Paris Metro station after the discovery of a bag with a walkie-talkie antenna and red wires sticking out.

Five key moments in Chris Froome' Tour de France win
The victorious Christopher Froome. Photo: AFP

Here are the key moments that earned Christopher Froome his third Tour de France victory.

Terror attack in Nice
Policewoman's Nice claims leave government in crisis
Photo: AFP

The pressure is mounting on the French government after a policewoman claimed she was pressured to change her report over security measures in Nice on the night of the July 14th attack.

15-hour tailbacks in UK as France heightens checks
The local Kent Police force said there was a 12-mile tailback, which it put down to a “vast volume of holiday traffic”. Photo: AFP

British officials were drafted in to help French border police on Sunday after 15-hour queues built up at the port of Dover due to heightened entry checks.

15 injured in Welsh bus accident in France
The bus ended on its side in a ditch. Two helicopters were dispatched to the site. Photo: AFP

UPDATED: Fifteen people were injured, two of them seriously, when a bus carrying teenagers from Wales rolled over on a motorway in eastern France on Saturday, the local gendarmerie said.

Libya armed groups urge fight against French troops
Dozens of protesters rallied Friday outside the GNA’s former headquarters in a Tripoli navy base. Photo: AFP

Armed groups including Islamists have urged Libyans to mobilise against French and other foreign troops deployed in the country, denouncing their presence as a “blatant aggression”.

EgyptAir flight broke up midair after fire: report
The Airbus A320 was en route from Paris to Cairo when it disappeared from radar over the Mediterranean. Photo: AFP

An EgyptAir flight that crashed into the Mediterranean in May likely broke up in midair after a fire erupted in or near the cockpit, the New York Times has reported.

IMF boss Lagarde to stand trial over $400 million payout
Lagarde will be the third successive IMF chief to face trial. Photo: AFP

IMF chief Christine Lagarde was ordered Friday to stand trial in France over a massive state payout to a colourful tycoon when she was French economy minister, dealing a setback to her stellar career.

Hollande defends minister under fire over Nice attack
The Nice assault was the third major attack on French soil in the past 18 months. Photo: AFP

French President Francois Hollande on Friday defended his government from accusations it relaxed its anti-terror defences after the Euro championships, and announced plans to arm the fight against the Islamic State group which claimed the Nice attack.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Features
Six outdoor bars in Paris you simply must visit
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
The open-air Villette cinema has been cancelled over security fears
Culture
Henri Rousseau exhibition proves huge hit in Paris
National
Frenchman caught trying to sell Nice massacre souvenirs online
Society
OPEN NOW: Here's why you should head to the Paris Plages
Culture
What's on in France: Still plenty to see and do in July
Lifestyle
Treasures of Versailles to go on display in Australia
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Nice attack: What we know so far
National
Nice attacker: Body-building, drug-taking, violent flirt
National
IN IMAGES: Drawings in tribute to Nice attack victims
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Promenade des Anglais: The iconic heart of the French Riviera
France faces more questions after latest deadly attack
National
Why is France the target of choice for jihadist attacks?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
Nice truck attack: 'Bodies went flying like bowling pins'
Nice attack: Families of missing make pleas on Twitter
Politics
Boris Johnson cheered and booed at Bastille Day party
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Ten reasons not to leave Paris this summer
Ten ways other expats in France drive you mad
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
'Very Stupid' village in France honoured for its silly name
Travel
Ten crazy things to do in France if you dare
Society
Paris: an obstacle course for wheelchair users
Brits ignore Brexit fears to make dream move to France
2,765
jobs available