Case Studies of National Counter-Terrorism Policies: Case Study of France

  • Francesca GalliEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the International Human Rights book series (IHR)


Powerful terrorist organizations have hit French territory over the years, including international terrorism groups, ideological (extreme left) groups, and separatist movements. The legal response – as it has evolved in practice since the late 1980s – has been mainly shaped by the threat of international terrorism. The drafting of specific legislation – conceived as a structured and coherent corpus of rules – has been particularly relevant in the organization of an anti-terrorism regime. The September 11 attacks in themselves provoked a limited but significant restructuring of national anti-terrorist arrangements, and new statutes unfolded within the framework of a considerable body of existing legislation. Most importantly, in the Code Pénal, there is no provision establishing terrorism as an all-embracing offence. In fact, terrorism is defined in terms of a list of existing criminal offences which constitute “terrorism” when carried out, whether by an individual or a collective actor, for the purpose of creating a serious breach of public order by means of intimidation or terror. The new provisions are meant to frame the use of special procedural measures. In addition, the shift of criminal liability upstream from the commission of any harm has been achieved by the application of “association for terrorist purposes” offences which have played a central role in the repression of terrorism since the 1980s/1990s. The scope of these offences is extremely broad and punishes any kind of participation in a group with a view to preparing a terrorist act provided that this has been demonstrated “by one or more material actions.”


Terrorism France Criminal law Preparatory activities 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European University InstituteFlorenceItaly

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