Sitting on a panel of three Councillors of State, the Conseil d'État's urgent applications judge today suspended the dissolution of Les Soulèvements de la Terre [Uprisings of the Earth] decreed by the Council of Ministers on 21 June. The group, along with several associations, political parties and individuals, had appealed to the court, which took the view that there was serious doubt as to what qualified as ‘incitement to acts of violence against people and property’ used in the dissolution decree.
On 21 June 2023, the French Government ordered the dissolution of Les Soulèvements de la Terre, which had been formed at the end of January 20211. This decree was challenged by the group itself, along with several associations, political parties and individuals, who also asked the Conseil d'État to suspend the dissolution in summary proceedings.
Two conditions must be met before an urgent application for suspension can be granted: the measure in question must be urgent, and there must be serious doubt as to its legality. The Conseil d'État took the view that these two conditions had been met.
Firstly, it noted that the dissolution of Les Soulèvements de la Terre infringed upon freedom of association and created a situation of urgency for the applicants. It, therefore, considered that the first condition for ordering the suspension had been met.
The judges then noted that, at the interim proceedings stage, it did not appear that the evidence provided by the French Minister of the Interior and Overseas Territories to justify the legality of the decree dissolving Les Soulèvements de la Terre was sufficient to meet the conditions set out in article L. 212-1 of the French Internal Security Code2. In fact, neither the documents in the case file nor the discussion that took place at the hearing could be considered as evidence that the group in any way condoned acts of violence against individuals. Moreover, there were only a limited number of actions advocated by Les Soulèvements de la Terre that led to damage to property. Those actions were part of the group's stance that favours and promotes the symbolic nature of civil disobedience. In view of the limited nature and extent of the damage resulting from these attacks, the urgent applications judges took the view that there was serious doubt as to whether these actions constituted acts that seriously disturbed public order within the meaning of point 1 of article L. 212-1 of the French Internal Security Code.
On these grounds, the Conseil d'État suspended the dissolution of Les Soulèvements de la Terre in summary proceedings. Following the interim decision, the Conseil d'État will issue a final ruling (on the merits of the case) at a later date. Today's order specified that this judgement should be delivered quickly, probably in the autumn.
Read the decision (in French)