From the "exception" to the "rule" : the case of the state of emergency in France following the November Paris attacks

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Chouzenoux, Morgane
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The year 2015 has seen France has witness its worst terrorist attacks in recent history. In order to counter terrorism on a national scale, the French President François Hollande declared a « state of emergency » which is also called « state of exception ». The state of emergency allows the French government to take « exceptional » measures such as warrantless searches and arrests that would never be allowed under ordinary circumstances. With the new law, the grounds to authorise such measures are broad since « reasons to believe » that a person is involved in a terrorist activity constitute the criteria for its implementation. Although the state of emergency was supposed to last only three months, it was extended three times until the 26th of July 2016. By focusing on the case of France, this research analyses how the French government implements and legitimises a state of emergency through, inter alia, the securitisation of the issue of terrorism which occurs through speech acts and routinised practices of professional of unease. By dissecting the new criminal law promulgated on the 3rd of June 2016, this thesis exemplifies how the « exception » becomes the « norm » and what can be the adverse effects of such a normalisation. With the threat of terrorism being a permanent threat, this thesis research advocates for the implementation of an efficient legal instrument countering terrorism while protecting basic liberties and securities on the long run.
Second semester University: University of Hamburg.
criminal law, security, state of emergency, terrorism, France