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About-Picard Law in France

Paris, FR, May 30, 2001


French Anti-Cult Law (May 30, 2001): English Translation, with Notes

Note: This is a collection of Sections as voted in the Senate and the House. The final published text may include some minor variations.

A bill directed to the reinforcement of prevention and repression of cultic movements which undermine human rights and fundamental freedoms.

CHAPTER I

Civil dissolution of certain legal entities

Section 1

The dissolution can be pronounced, according to the provisions of the present Section, of any legal entity, whatever its legal form or object, pursuing activities which have as their purpose or effect to create, maintain or exploit the psychological or physical subjection of persons taking part in these activities, when final criminal sentences have been pronounced against the legal entity itself or its legitimate or de facto leaders, for one or the other of the offences mentioned hereafter:

1° Offences of intentional or unintentional prejudice to the life or the physical or psychological integrity of the person, endangerment of the person, prejudice to the person's freedoms, prejudice to the dignity of the person, prejudice to the personality, imperilling minors or prejudicing property provided for by Sections 221-1 to 221-6, 222-1 to 222-40, 223-1 to 223-15, 223-15-2, 224-1 to 224-4, 225-5 to 225-15, 225-17 and 225-18, 226-1 to 226-23, 227-1 to 227-27, 311-1 to 311-13, 312-1 to 312-12, 313-1 to 313-3, 314-1 to 314-3 and 324-1 to 324-6 of the Criminal Code;

2° Offences of illegal medical or pharmaceutical practice provided for by Sections L. 4161-5 and L. 4223-1 of the Public Health Code;

3° Offences of deceptive advertising, frauds and falsifications provided for by Sections L. 121-6 and L. 213-1 to L. 213-4 of the Consumer Code.

The dissolution procedure is filed before the Court of First Instance by the Public Prosecutor, acting on its own accord or at the request of any interested party.

The request is formulated, examined and judged in conformity with the fast-track (fixed date) procedure. The time limit for appeal is fifteen days. The President of the Court to whom the case is entrusted will fix a short time limit for the hearing to which the case will be summoned. At the indicated day, the proceedings are conducted according to Sections 760 to 762 of the New Code of Civil Procedure.

The overt or disguised maintaining or re-forming of a legal entity disbanded in application of the clauses of the present Section is an offence provided for by the second paragraph of Section 434-43 of the Criminal Code.

The Court of First Instance may pronounce in the course of the same procedure the dissolution of several different legal entities mentioned in the first paragraph, when these legal entities pursue the same purpose and are united by a community of interests and when at least one final criminal sentence for one of the offences mentioned in 1° to 3° has been pronounced against each of them or their legitimate or de facto leaders. These different legal entities must be parties to the procedure.

CHAPTER II

Extension of the criminal responsibility of legal entities to certain offences

Section 2

I. - After the words "is; sentenced", the end of the first paragraph of Section L. 4161-5 of the Public Health Code the following words shall be included: "to; one year in prison and a 100,000 Francs fine."

II. - After Section L. 4161-5 of the Public Health Code, a Section L. 4161-6 is inserted, reading as follows:

"Sect.; L. 4161-6. - Legal entities may be declared criminally responsible in the conditions established by Section 121-2 of the Criminal Code for offences provided for by Section L. 4161-5.

"The; penalties incurred by the legal entities are:

"1;° Fine, according to the provisions of Section 131-38 of the Criminal Code;

"2;° The penalties mentioned in Paragraphs 2nd to 9th of Section 131-39 of the Criminal Code.

"The; interdiction mentioned in the 2nd Paragraph of Section131-39 of the Criminal Code concerns the activity in the exercise of which or at the occasion of which the offence was committed."

III. - In Section L. 4223-1 of the same Code, the words: "to; a 30,000 Francs fine and, in the event of a subsequent offence, to six months in prison and a 60,000 Francs fine" are replaced by the words: "to; one year in prison and a 100,000 Francs fine".;

Sections 2 bis

A Section 221-5-1 is inserted after Section 221-5 of the Criminal Code, reading as follows:

"Section; 221-5-1. - Legal entities may be found criminally liable pursuant to the conditions prescribed in Section 121-2, for the offences provided in this section.

"Legal; entities shall be liable to the following penalties:

"1;) The fine provided by Section 131-38;

"2;) The penalties set forth in Section 131-39.

"The; prohibition set forth in paragraph (2) of Section 131-39 applies to the activity in which or as a result of which the offence was committed."

Section 2 ter

A Section 222-6-1 is inserted after Section 222-6 of the same Code, reading as follows:

"Section; 222-6-1. - Legal entities may be found criminally liable pursuant to the conditions prescribed in Section 121-2, for the offences provided in this paragraph.

"Legal; entities shall be liable to the following penalties:

"1;) The fine provided by Section 131-38;

"2;) The penalties set forth in Section 131-39.

"The; prohibition set forth in paragraph (2) of Section 131-39 applies to the activity in which or as a result of which the offence was committed."

Section 2 quater

A Section 222-16-1 is inserted after Section 222-16 of the same Code, reading as follows:

"Section; 222-16-1. - Legal entities may be found criminally liable pursuant to the conditions prescribed in Section 121-2, for the offences provided in this paragraph.

"Legal; entities shall be liable to the following penalties:

"1;) The fine provided by Section 131-38;

"2;) The penalties set forth in paragraphs (2) to (9) of Section 131-39.

"The; prohibition set forth in paragraph (2) of Section 131-39 applies to the activity in which or as a result of which the offence was committed."

Section 2 no. 5

A Section 222-18-1 is inserted after Section 222-18 of the same Code, reading as follows:

"Section; 222-18-1. - Legal entities may be found criminally liable pursuant to the conditions prescribed in Section 121-2, for the offences provided in this paragraph.

"Legal; entities shall be liable to the following penalties:

"1;) The fine provided by Section 131-38;

"2;) The penalties set forth in paragraphs (2) to (9) of Section 131-39;

"3;) "The; penalty set forth in paragraph (1) of Section 131-39 for the offences provided by Sections 222-17 (2nd paragraph) and 222-18.

"The; prohibition set forth in paragraph (2) of Section 131-39 applies to the activity in which or as a result of which the offence was committed."

Section 2 no. 6

A Section 222-33-1 is inserted after Section 222-33 of the same Code. Reading as follows:

"Section; 222-33-1. - Legal entities may be found criminally liable pursuant to the conditions prescribed in Section 121-2, for the offences provided in Sections 222-22 to 222-31.

"Legal; entities shall be liable to the following penalties:

"1;) The fine provided by Section 131-38;

"2;) The penalties set forth in Section 131-39.

"The; prohibition set forth in paragraph (2) of Section 131-39 applies to the activity in which or as a result of which the offence was committed."

Section 2 no. 7

A Section 223-7-1 is inserted after Section 223-7 of the same Code, reading as follows:

"Section; 223-7-1. - Legal entities may be found criminally liable pursuant to the conditions prescribed in Section 121-2, for the offences provided in this section.

"Legal; entities shall be liable to the following penalties:

"1;) The fine provided by Section 131-38;

"2;) The penalties set forth in paragraphs (2) to (9) of Section 131-39;

"3;) "The; penalty set forth in paragraph (1) of Section 131-39 for the offences provided by Sections 223-5 and 223-6.

"The; prohibition set forth in paragraph (2) of Section 131-39 applies to the activity in which or as a result of which the offence was committed."

Section 2 no. 8

A Section 223-15-1 is inserted after Section 223-15 of the same Code, reading as follows:

"Section; 223-15-1. - Legal entities may be found criminally liable pursuant to the conditions prescribed in Section 121-2, for the offences provided in this section.

"Legal; entities shall be liable to the following penalties:

"1;) The fine provided by Section 131-38;

"2;) The penalties set forth in paragraphs (2) to (9) of Section 131-39.

"3;) "The; penalty set forth in paragraph (1) of Section 131-39 for the offence provided by the 2nd paragraph of Section 223-13.

"The; prohibition set forth in paragraph (2) of Section 131-39 applies to the activity in which or as a result of which the offence was committed."

Section 2 no. 9

Section 4 of Chapter V, Title II, Book II of the same Code is supplemented by Section 225-18-1, reading as follows:

"Section; 225-18-1. - Legal entities may be found criminally liable pursuant to the conditions prescribed in Section 121-2, for the offences provided in Sections 225-17 and 225-18.

"Legal; entities shall be liable to the following penalties:

"1;) The fine provided by Section 131-38;

"2;) The penalties set forth in paragraphs (2) to (9) of Section 131-39;

"3;) "The; penalty set forth in paragraph (1) of Section 131-39 for the offences provided by Section 225-18.

"The; prohibition set forth in paragraph (2) of Section 131-39 applies to the activity in which or as a result of which the offence was committed."

Section 2 no. 10

A Section 227-4-1 is inserted after Section 227-4 of the same Code, reading as follows:

"Section; 227-4-1. - Legal entities may be found criminally liable pursuant to the conditions prescribed in Section 121-2, for the offences provided in this section.

"Legal; entities shall be liable to the following penalties:

"1;) The fine provided by Section 131-38;

"2;) The penalties set forth in paragraphs (2) to (9) of Section 131-39.

"The; prohibition set forth in paragraph (2) of Section 131-39 applies to the activity in which or as a result of which the offence was committed."

Section 2 no. 11

Section 227-17-2 of the same Code is amended as follows:

1) In the first sentence, the words: "for; the offence provided in the second paragraph of Section 227-17-1" are replaced by the words: "for; the offences provided in Sections 227-15 to 227-17-1"

2) In paragraph (2), the words: "in; paragraphs (1), (2), (4), (8) and (9) of" are replaced by the word: "in;".;

Section 2 no. 12

In the second paragraph (1)) of Section 131-39 of the same Code, the words: "to; five years" are replaced by the words: "or; equal to three years".;

Section 2 no. 13

I - Section 132-13 of the same Code is supplemented by a new paragraph worded as follows:

"In; the cases provided by the two preceding paragraphs, the legal entity shall, in addition, be liable to the penalties set forth in Section 131-39, subject to the provisions of the last paragraph of this Section."

II - In the last paragraph of the same section, the words: "more; than 100,000 francs" are replaced by the words: "at; least 100,000 francs".;

CHAPTER III

Clauses regarding the sentence of dissolution

incurred by legal entities penally responsible

Section 3 [or Section 2 no. 14]

In the second paragraph of Section 8 of the Associations Law of July 1, 1901, the words: "by; a fine of 30,000 francs and one year of imprisonment" are replaced by the words: "by; three years of imprisonment and a fine of 300,000 francs.

Section 4

Section 434-43 of the Criminal Code is supplemented by two new paragraphs worded as follows:

"Anyone; taking part in the overt or disguised maintenance or revival of a legal entity whose dissolution was ordered pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (1) of Section 131-39 shall be punished by three years of imprisonment and a fine of 300,000 francs.

"Where; dissolution has been ordered for a second time offence or for the offence provided in the preceding paragraph, the penalty shall be increased to five years of imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 francs."

Section 5

A paragraph (5) is inserted before the last paragraph of Article 434-47 of the same code, reading as follows:

"5;) The offences under the second and third paragraphs of Section 434-43 shall be punished by dissolution as set forth in paragraph (1) of Section 131-39."

CHAPTER IV

Clauses restricting the advertisement of cult movements

[Sections 6 and 7

Deleted]

Section 8

The fact of distributing, by whatever means, messages intended for youth and promoting a legal entity, whatever its legal form or object, which is pursuing activities with the purpose or effect to create, maintain or exploit the psychological or physical subjection of persons taking part in these activities, when final criminal sentences have been pronounced several times, against the legal entity itself or its legitimate or de facto leaders, for one or the other of the offences mentioned hereafter, is sentenced to a 50,000 Francs fine:

1° Offences of intentional or unintentional prejudice to the life or the physical or psychological integrity of the person, endangerment of the person, prejudice to the person's freedoms, prejudice to the dignity of the person, prejudice to the personality, placing minors in danger or prejudicing property provided for by Sections 221-1 to 221-6, 222-1 to 222-40, 223-1 to 223-15, 223-15-2, 224-1 to 224-4, 225-5 to 225-15, 225-17 and 225-18, 226-1 to 226-23, 227-1 to 227-27, 311-1 to 311-13, 312-1 to 312-12, 313-1 to 313-3, 314-1 to 314-3 and 324-1 to 324-6 of the Criminal Code;

2° Offences of illegal medical or pharmaceutical practice provided for by Sections L. 4161-5 and L. 4223-1 of the Public Health Code;

3° Offences of deceptive advertising, frauds and falsifications provided for by Sections L. 121-6 and L. 213-1 to L. 213-4 of the Consumer Code.

The same sanctions are applicable when the messages referred to in the first paragraph of this Section are an invitation to join such a legal entity.

The legal entities may be declared penally responsible in conditions provided for by Section 121-2 of the Criminal Code of offences defined in this Section. The sanction incurred by legal entities is a fine, according to the provisions of Section 131-38 of the Criminal Code.

CHAPTER V

Clauses connected with the fraudulent abuse of the

state of ignorance or weakness

Section 9

After Section 223-15 of the Criminal Code, a section 6 bis is created, reading as follows:

"Section; 6 bis

Regarding the fraudulent abuse of the state of ignorance or weakness

"Sect.; 223-15-2. - The fraudulent abuse of the state of ignorance or the condition of weakness of either a minor or a person whose specific vulnerability, due to his age, an illness, a disability, a physical or psychological deficiency or pregnancy, is apparent and known to its author, or of a person in a state of psychological or physical subjection resulting from serious pressures exercised or repeated or from techniques likely to alter his judgment, leading this minor or this person to an act or an abstention which are seriously harmful to him, is sentenced to three years in prison and a 2,500,000 Francs fine.

"When; the offence is committed by the legitimate or de facto leader of a group which is pursuing activities with the purpose or effect to create, maintain or exploit the psychological or physical subjection of persons taking part in these activities, the sentences are extended to five years in prison and a 5,000,000 Francs fine.

"Sect.; 223-15-3. - Individuals guilty of the offence provided for in this section also incur the following supplementary sentences :

"1;° Deprivation of political, civil and family rights, according to the provisions of Section 131-26;

"2;° Deprivation, according to provisions of Section 131-27, of the exercise of a civil service or the exercise of the professional or social activity in the exercise of which or at the occasion of the exercise of which the offence was committed, for a length of five years at most;

"3;° Closing, for a length of five years at most, of the establishments or of one or several establishments of the corporation having served to commit the incriminated facts;

"4;° Seizure of the thing which served or was intended to commit the offence or the thing which is its product, with the exception of objects susceptible of restitution;

"5;° Prohibition to stay in France or in certain French departments, according to the provisions of Section 131-31;

"6;° Interdiction, for a length of five years at most, the drawing of checks other than those which enable the withdrawal of funds by the drawer from the drawee or of certified ones;

"7;° Posting of the bill or circulating the pronounced decision, in conditions provided for by Section 131-35.

"Art.; 223-15-4. - Legal entities may be declared criminally responsible, in conditions provided for by Section 121-2, of the offence defined in this section.

"The; sentences incurred by the legal entities are:

"1;° A fine, according to the provisions of Section 131-38;

"2;° Penalties mentioned in Section 131-39.

"The; interdiction mentioned in 2° of Section 131-39 concerns the activity in the exercise of which or at the occasion of the exercise of which the offence was committed."

Section 10

I. - Section 313-4 of the Criminal Code is repealed.

II. - In the first paragraph of Section 313-7 of the same Code, the reference: ", 313-4" is deleted.

III. - At the end of the first paragraph of Section 313-9 of the same Code, the words: "to; 313-4" are replaced by the words: "to; 313-3".;

CHAPTER VI

Miscellaneous

Section 11

Section 2-17 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is written as follows:

"Art.; 2-17. - Any association recognized as serving public interests regularly registered since at least five years at the date of the facts and proposing through its statutes to defend and help individuals or to defend individual and public rights and freedoms can, at the occasion of acts committed by any individual or legal entity, in the frame of a movement or organization which has as its purpose or effect to create, maintain or exploit a psychological or physical subjection, exercise the recognized civil party rights regarding the offences of intended or unintended prejudice to the life or the physical or psychological integrity of the person, endangerment of the person, prejudice to the person's freedoms, prejudice to the dignity of the person, prejudice to the personality, placing minors in danger, or prejudicing property provided for by Sections 221-1 to 221-6, 222-1 to 222-40, 223-1 to 223-15, 223-15-2, 224-1 to 224-4, 225-5 to 225-15, 225-17 and 225-18, 226-1 to 226-23, 227-1 to 227-27, 311-1 to 311-13, 312-1 to 312-12, 313-1 to 313-3, 314-1 to 314-3 and 324-1 to 324-6 of the Criminal Code, the offences of illegal medical or pharmaceutical practice provided for by Sections L. 4161-5 and L. 4223-1 of the Code of Public Health, and the offences of deceptive advertisement, frauds and falsifications provided for by Sections L. 121-6 and L. 213-1 to L. 213-4 of the Consumer Code."

Section 11 bis

Section 706-45 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is modified as follows:

I. - After the fifth paragraph (4°), a 5° is inserted written as follows:

"5;° Put under the control of an administrator appointed by the examining magistrate for a renewable period of six months, as regards the activity in the exercise of which or at the occasion of which the offence was committed."

II. - The next to last paragraph is completed by a sentence written as follows:

"The; measure provided for by 5° cannot be ordered by the examining magistrate if the legal entity cannot be sentenced to the penalty provided for by the 3° of Section 131-39 of the Criminal Code."

[Section 12

Deleted]

Section 13

This law is applicable in New Caledonia, in French Polynesia, in the Wallis and Futuna Islands and in the Territorial Community of Mayotte.

For the application of this law in New Caledonia, in French Polynesia, at Wallis and Futuna, in the Territorial Community of Mayotte and in Saint Pierre et Miquelon, the words: " Tribunal de grande instance" are replaced by the words: "Tribunal; de première instance".;

For the application of this in New Caledonia, in French Polynesia, at Wallis and Futuna and in the Territorial Community of Mayotte, the references to the legal clauses of the Code of Public Health, the Consumer Code and the Code of Civil Procedure are replaced, if necessary, by the references to clauses locally applicable having the same purpose.