Jacques Toubon on Legal Responses to Facial Checks

The group action against facial checks, led by six associations and which will be examined this Friday, September 29 during a hearing at the Council of State, is based in particular on the work carried out by the Defender of Rights. Jacques Toubon, who held this mandate from 2014 to 2020, after having notably been Minister of Justice in the right-wing government of Alain Juppé (1995-1997), supports the applicants and wants the State to be condemned.

What motivated your support of the applicant associations?

I will be at the Council of State tomorrow because for me it is the culmination of work started several years ago, in particular during my mandate as Defender of Rights. I consider myself in a certain way associated with this action by the associations because their request is based in particular on the survey that I carried out in 2016 [published in 2017, editor’s note] on relations between the police and the population and which concluded that young men perceived as black or Arab are twenty times more likely than the general population to be stopped by the police. This is a fact to which a legal response must be provided.

What is your reaction to the fact that the State is contesting, before the Council of State but also before the European Court of Human Rights, the probative force of this study on discriminatory identity checks?

In 2016, the study was presented to the General Directorate of the National Police. The Ministry of the Interior denied the reality of what was demonstrated by the investigation, always with the same argument that there may be some cases of discriminatory controls but which are not representative. However, the reality is indeed a discriminatory identity control system and, faced with a system, we must respond systemically and not on a case-by-case basis. The Home Office and the police do not accept and probably never will accept, unless a court decides, that these activities are not in accordance with the law.

More generally, how do you judge the attitude of the State towards facial checks?

If the Council of State agrees with the applicant associations, the administration will be faced with a choice, to apply or not to apply the judgment of the Council of State by trying to pass new legislation which would allow it to circumvent this decision but which would be contrary to the Constitution and the international commitments of France, by establishing the possibility of carrying out discriminatory controls. It is clear that a majority of people do not want people to be treated differently depending on their origin or their physical appearance, but there are also many people who think that it is normal to reserve a particular fate for them. We have here, through these court decisions, a real social question which is posed and maintained by the extreme right, through its assertion that we would no longer be at home because of immigration. At home, it is them and us together, those who arrive and those who are there.

This article is originally published on .liberation.fr

Previous post Spain’s Political Countdown: Pedro Sánchez’s Majority Quest
Next post Far-Right Media ‘Livre Noir’ Launches Chaotic Magazine Return