The Paris Court of Appeal confirms the legality of the call for a boycott

The Paris Court of Appeal confirms the legality of the call for a boycott

By its judgment of June 11, 2020, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled very clearly on the right to call for a boycott: the call to boycott products from a State falls under the political expression, protected by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and cannot, in itself, be qualified as a call to discrimination. The ECHR thus ruled in favor of the 11 applicants who had contacted it to challenge their conviction by the French courts following actions calling for a boycott carried out in the Mulhouse region in 2009 and 2010. France was condemned by the ECHR, and had to pay “just satisfaction” paid to each of the 11 applicants.

Due to the “hierarchy” of standards and jurisdictions, the ECHR ruling is binding on France, which must draw all the consequences.

For the applicants, it remained necessary that the judgment of the Colmar Court of Appeal which had unjustly convicted them in 2013 be explicitly reviewed, and that the sentences which had been pronounced against them be annulled by the French courts. This is why they brought a request for review of their convictions before the Court of Revision and Re-examination of Criminal Convictions, in a completely usual approach in this type of situation.

By its judgment of April 7, 2022, the Court of Revision, relying on the terms of the ECHR judgment, deemed the applicants' request admissible. She annulled the judgments of the Colmar Court of Appeal which had convicted them, and referred the case to the Paris Court of Appeal.

The hearing was held on October 4 and 5, 2023, then on January 25, 2024. The civil parties (Alliance France-Israel, Avocats Sans Frontières, LICRA, BNVCA, CCFI) had put forward their usual amalgamations, of particularly shameless manner. The Attorney General had requested the acquittal, motivating his decision by analysis of the facts, and by detailed references to the ECHR judgment.

By its judgment of March 14, 2024, the Paris Court of Appeal confirmed, thirteen years later, the judgment of the Mulhouse court which acquitted the defendants.

In the current context of calling into question freedoms, the France Palestine Solidarity Association welcomes this judgment from the Paris Court of Appeal, which draws all the consequences of the ECHR judgment.

It is now perfectly clear that the call to boycott products from Israel, to protest against the policies pursued by this State, is perfectly legal, as long as it is not accompanied by calls for hatred or to violence.

Current events require us to intensify our actions against the impunity of the State of Israel, which flouts all the rules of international law and is waging a genocidal war against the Palestinian population of the Gaza Strip. The AFPS will continue, as it has always done, to lead Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigns to protest against the policies of the State of Israel, and calls on everyone to mobilize in this direction.

The AFPS National Office, March 14, 2024