Since 2021, the law has enabled the dissolution of associations or de facto groups that incite violence against people or property (1) . In response to an appeal by four dissolved organisations, the Conseil d'État today clarified how these provisions should be applied. An organisation may be dissolved if it explicitly or implicitly incites acts of violence likely to cause serious disruption to public order. Publicly condoning serious violence or failing to moderate material on its social networks that explicitly incites violence may constitute just cause. It is also possible to dissolve an organisation or group that incites or supports discrimination, hatred or violence against people based on their origins or identity (2) . After assessing the seriousness of the incitement charges against these four organisations, the Conseil d'État annulled the dissolution of Soulèvements de la Terre ("Uprisings of the Earth") but upheld the dissolution of GALE (Groupe Antifasciste Lyon et Environs [Greater Lyon antifascist group]), Alvarium and CRI (Coordination contre le Racism et l'Islamophobie [group against racism and Islamophobia]).
Between 2021 and 2023, the Government dissolved several organisations and groups, including Soulèvements de la Terre , GALE , Alvarium and CRI. Each of these organisations appealed to the Conseil d'État to annul its dissolution.
Criteria for defining what constitutes incitement to violence against people and property
The Conseil d'État noted that a dissolution order presents an extreme restriction on the freedom of association, which is a fundamental principle recognised by the laws of the French Republic. It can, therefore, only be enacted to prevent serious disruption to public order.
The Conseil d'État today clarified the criteria that must be met to justify dissolution under the provisions of point 1 of article L. 212-1 of the French Internal Security Code, which allows for the dissolution of an organisation if it incites violence against people or property. The judge found that dissolution is only justified when an organisation or group incites people to commit acts of violence against people or property (explicitly or implicitly, through words or deeds), publicly legitimises particularly serious acts or fails to moderate explicit incitement to commit acts of violence published on its social media.
Dissolutions justified in three cases
(1) Point 1 of article L. 212-1 of the French Internal Security Code
(2) Point 6 of article L. 212-1 of the French Internal Security Code