France confirms six month state of emergency extension after Nice murders

Following the murderous attack in Nice, French authorities have confirmed to the Council of Europe the extension by six months of the country’s State of Emergency.

It is reported that 31 year old Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, killed 84 people and injured many others, after climbing into a 19 ton refrigerated truck and driving it into a crowd assembled near Nice’s beachfront to watch a Bastille Day firework display.

A letter, dated 22 July, from Jocelyne Caballero, France’s ambassador to the Council of Europe, addressed to Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland states: “By letters dated 24 November 2015 and 25 February 2016, I brought to your attention the declaration of the state of emergency in France following the coordinated attacks which hit Paris on 13 November 2015 and asked you to kindly consider that my letter constitute an information for the purposes of Article 15 of the Convention.

“Indeed, the French Government has decided, by Decree No. 2015-1475 of 14 November 2015, to apply Law No. 55 -385 of 3 April 1955 relative to the state of emergency.

“The severity of the attacks, their simultaneous nature and the permanence of the threat at a level previously unknown in the country consequently justified the extension of the state of emergency, of which I informed you, for a period of three months starting on 26 November 2015, by Law No. 2015-1501 of 20 November 2015, then for a period of three months starting on 26 February 2016 by Law No.2016-162 of 19 February 2016 and then for a period of two months starting 26 May 2016 by Law No. 2016-629 of 20 May 2016.

“An attack causing, according to the latest reports, the death of 84 people and leaving over 350 injured was committed in Nice on 14 July 2016. It was claimed by a terrorist organization. It follows a bombing on 13 June 2016 in which two officials of the Police Nationale were killed in their home in Ile-de-France by a terrorist claiming the same organization.

“The terrorist threat characterizing ‘an imminent danger resulting from serious breaches of public order,’ that justified the initial declaration of a state of emergency and its extensions, remains at a very alarming level which requires the availability of strengthened administrative measures in the fight against terrorism in the national territory.

“That is why the state of emergency was extended by Act No. 2016 – 987 of 21 July 2016 for a period of six months.

“The act also amends certain of the measures provided by the Law of 3 April 1955 to adapt its content to changes in law and fact.

“Among the measures that could be taken under the state of emergency, the administrative searches (Section I of Article 11 of the Law of 3 April 1955 regarding the state of emergency) will again be allowed during this six – month period.

“Their usefulness will increase as they will be conducted as part of a renovation plan, which will include the operation of computer data after authorization of the judge.

“The French Government wishes to recall that measures taken under the state of emergency are subject to effective judicial review as well as a particularly close monitoring and control mechanism by the parliament.”

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