The “criminal liability and internal security” bill, which alters the legal regime of criminal irresponsibility after the Sarah Halimi affair and regulates the use of drones by the police, was adopted this Thursday in first reading, by the National Assembly.
Supported by the Ministries of Justice and the Interior, the text was voted by 34 votes in favor, eight against and six abstentions. Subject to an accelerated procedure, it will be examined in session in the Senate, from October 18 to 20.
Psychoactive products at the heart of the debates
The flagship measures of the text are aimed at retouching the system of criminal liability without returning to the sacrosanct principle summarized in the formula “we do not judge fools”. The reform of criminal liability responds to a request in April from the Head of State after the strong emotion caused by the lack of trial in the case of Sarah Halimi, a Jewish sexagenarian killed by a neighbor, a cannabis user, plagued by a “delirious puff”, according to psychiatric experts, and declared irresponsible.
It is first of all a question of repressing the fact that a person has consumed psychoactive products, such as narcotics or alcohol, knowing that this could lead to violence or homicide for which he has been declared irresponsible. Another “very limited” exception to penal irresponsibility, unrelated to the Halimi affair: when the abolition of discernment results from the close consumption of psychotropic drugs with the aim of committing an offense.
A “catch-all” side
The text also provides for several security measures emphasizing the regal: violence against agents or their harshest repressed families, the fight against motorized rodeos or reinforced refusals to comply. The executive returned to the charge to authorize the video recordings in the premises of police custody, as well as the drones and cameras on board the vehicles of the police. Antoine Savignat (LR) deplored the “catch-all side” of the text but welcomed “number of positive advances” like the provisions on criminal liability.
Ugo Bernalicis (LFI) denounced a “nauseating medley” by pinning “security technologism”. On penal irresponsibility, it “only concerns academic cases which would not have changed anything at the end of the judgment of Sarah Halimi”. Modem Blandine Brocard regretted “the caricatured postures of the left opposition” and considered “essential to continue work on motorized rodeos”.