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France’s highest administrative court rejected a class action lawsuit accusing the government of failing to stop police racial profiling, a ruling that could influence judicial advocacy actions in the country, Radio France Internationale reported Thursday.
The landmark case was brought by six human rights groups who alleged that the French state had failed to prevent police from conducting racial profiling, particularly during routine identity checks where young Arab and black men were disproportionately targeted.
But in its ruling, the Conseil d’ État (Council of State) dismissed the lawsuit because it was “not the role of an administrative judge to take the place of the public authorities in determining public policy.”
The court explained that the issue “cannot be considered ‘systemic’ or ‘widespread,’” but acknowledged that discrimination was a problem and “not confined to isolated cases.”
The council also ruled that police officers must clearly display their identification number badges and make them more readable. These measures aim to enhance transparency and accountability within law enforcement.
Human rights groups called the decision a “missed opportunity,” but welcomed the court’s recognition of police racial profiling as symbolically important.
The council’s verdict is the result of the first class action lawsuit against the government, a procedure that has only been possible since 2016. Legal observers suggested that this ruling could set a precedent and influence future legal actions in France.
At the same time, the ruling comes at a time when French authorities have faced increased scrutiny, particularly following the recent shooting death by a police officer of a teenager of North African descent.
Meanwhile, the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe passed a resolution Tuesday that voiced concern about forms of police misconduct that “disproportionately affect” people with an immigrant background in France.