The court says it is incompetent to suspend the delivery of boats to the Libyan navy

Urgently seized by eight NGOs, the administrative court considers that this is a political act of government affecting relations between France and a foreign state.

Is it possible to challenge the legality of the delivery by France of six fast boats to the Libyan navy? The Paris administrative court declared Friday, May 10, incompetent to judge, while it was seized urgently by eight NGOs, including Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders. Florence Parly, Minister of Armies, announced in February its intention to endow the Libyan coastguard with this equipment, type Zodiac, free of charge.

"The decision to make such an assignment (...) is not detachable from the conduct of foreign relations of France," justified the administrative court in its order. He considers that this is a political act of government, affecting relations between France and a foreign state. It can not therefore be challenged before an administrative court.

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In his defense, the representative of the Ministry of the Armies had supported this reasoning, explaining that the decision to equip the Libyan army participated in "the safeguarding and promotion of the strategic and diplomatic interests of France" . In this case, argued the Ministry of Armed Forces, it supports the "strengthening of military capabilities" of Libya "to contribute to the fight against terrorism and trafficking of all types . "

The fight against migratory flows

The boats, called "1 200 Rafale", are produced by the company Sillinger and usually equip the special forces. They must be delivered in the coming months to facilitate the transfer and landing of migrants intercepted at sea.

Since 2016, the European Union (EU) and its member states have made the strengthening of Libyan coast guards a major focus of their policy to fight against migratory flows that use the sea route of the central Mediterranean. In 2018, according to information provided to Le Monde by the spokesperson, with the European military operation Sophia - which accompanies, finances and supervises this policy - nearly half of the interceptions of migrants at sea were conducted by the navy or the Libyan coast guards. Some 355 coastguards have so far been trained by the EU, and Italy has already delivered several patrol boats to Tripoli. The delivery of equipment by Paris, whose amount is valued around 2.3 million euros, is unprecedented.

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"We are alarmed that no control can be exercised on the legality of such a decision , reacted Friday Lola Schulmann, Advocacy Officer at Amnesty International. However, by delivering these boats, France provides assistance and can be complicit in acts that are detrimental to human rights " .

Applicant NGOs consider that France will help prevent migrants from seeking asylum in Europe and detain them in Libya, a country in which they face serious violations of their rights, such as detention, torture or racketeering. They also consider that the delivery of the boats violates the embargo on military equipment, which results from a UN resolution of 2011 and a decision of the European Council of 2015. They are considering a possible appeal to the Council of Europe. 'State.

Julia Pascual

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