Seized by the LDH (League of Human Rights) and CGT, the highest French administrative court considers that it is an “essential element of the overall law enforcement system”…
The Council of State again rejected on Wednesday appeals against the Defensive Ball Launcher (LBD), a controversial weapon used by the police that has caused many serious injuries during the “Yellow Vests” movement.
The Council of State, the highest administrative court, was seized by the League of Human Rights (LDH) and CGT, who challenged the use of the LBD for law enforcement operations. On February 1st, seized in urgency, the Council of State had already rejected the requests to suspend the use of this weapon. And in April, it refused to appeal to the Constitutional Council concerning the use of the LBD.
For its detractors, the use of this weapon is not sufficiently regulated and it is neither proportionate nor necessary for the maintenance of order. On the contrary, the Council of State puts forward in its decision “precautions for use” that accompany the use of the LBD and “strict conditions of checks and training” that “contribute to reducing the risk of the bad use of this weapon”.
In addition, the LBD has constituted, during the “Yellow Vests” movement, “an essential element of the overall law enforcement system without which the police could not have coped with particular situations of violence,” according to the Council of State.
“The very numerous demonstrations […] were very often an occasion for voluntary violence” against the police, write the administrative judges. They also mention the “injuries, sometimes very serious”, inflicted on protesters because of the LBD. “The use of this intermediate force weapon does not and cannot legally have the effect of prohibiting the conduct of peaceful demonstrations or restricting the right to participate,” according to the administrative court.
The Council of State also rejected on Friday motions against the use of the GLI-F4 grenade, or the dispersal grenade, widely used by the police during the “Yellow Vests” movement and the cause of serious injuries among protesters. “It’s extremely disappointing,” said the LDH lawyer Patrice Spinosi. “While we are now pretty much the only country in Europe to use the LBD and the GLI-F4 grenade as part of a law enforcement operation, the Council of State has found nothing to complain about in regards to our regulations.”
“This is a real missed opportunity to change our legislation … while the rights defenders, the European Parliament, and the UN have clearly condemned France for the use of such weapons against mere protesters,”added the lawyer