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Case:
CE, Sect., 9 julliet 1997, p. 300 Case Association Ekin
Date:
09 July 1997
Translated by:
Professor John Bell FBA
Copyright:
Professor B. S. Markesinis

9 July 1997

In the light of the summary request and the supplementary memorandum presented by the Association Ekin registered with the Conseil d'Etat on 20 August and 12 November 1993 and under which the Association requests that the Conseil d’Etat

1. annuls the judgment of 1 June 1993 by which the Tribunal administratif of Pau rejected its request to annul the decision of 28 April 1988 by which the Minister of the Interior banned the circulation, distribution and sale of the publication Euskadi en guerre (“the Basque country at war”), as well as the implicit decision to reject its request for administrative redress of 1 June 1988;

2. annuls the said decision;

Without it being necessary to examine the other grounds of the request

Considering that the terms of art. 14 of the Law of 29 July 1881, as amended by the Decree of 6 May 1939, “the circulation, distribution or sale in France of newspapers or writings, be these periodicals or not, which are written in a foreign language can be prohibited by the Minister of the Interior. Such a ban can also be imposed against newspapers or writings from abroad written in French, whether they are printed abroad or in France”; as in the absence of any legislative provision setting out the conditions to which the legality of terms of a ban taken on the basis of this article are submitted, the restrictions on the power of the Minister result from the need to reconcile the public interest for which he is responsible with respect due to civil liberties, especially the freedom of the press; as it is the responsibility of the administrative judge, faced with a challenge to such a ban, to examine whether the prohibited publication is of a kind to cause a harm to the public interest justifying the restriction put on civil liberties; as, contrary to the claims of the Association, the power thus exercised by the Minister of the Interior, subject to the review of the administrative judge, is not incompatible with the combined provisions of arts. 10 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights;

Considering that, under the challenged decision, the Minister of the Interior banned the circulation, distribution and sale of the collection Euskadi en guerre, which must be considered as a publication of foreign within the meaning of art. 14 of the Law of 29 July 1881; as an examination of the content of publication does not show that it represents a threat of a character in relation to the interests which the minister has to protect, especially public security and public order, such as to justify legally the seriousness of the threat to the freedom of the press constituted by the challenged measure;

Considering that it follows from what has been said that the Association Ekin is justified in claiming that the challenged judgment of the Tribunal administratif of Pau wrongly rejected its request to annul the decision of 28 April 1988, based on art. 14 of the Law of 29 July 1881, by which the Minister of the Interior banned the circulation, distribution and sale in France of the work entitled Euskadi en guess, published by this association;

Decides:

Art. 1: The judgement of 1 June 1993 of the Tribunal administratif of Pau, as well as the decision dated 28 April 1988 of the Minister of the Interior are annulled.

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