Outcry against the repeal of the law on sexual harassment

After the Constitutional Council decided Friday, May 5, the immediate repeal of the Penal Code article condemning sexual harassment, which he considered too vague, political parties and associations have expressed concern "legal vacuum" that will result of this decision. The Minister of Solidarity Roselyne Bachelot, said that the new National Assembly elected in June should take "urgent" folder "to ensure workers' rights and, in particular, those of women." Hollande are "committed" if elected president Sunday, said his campaign team. Shortly after, Nicolas Sarkozy announced his commitment to submit to Parliament, if elected, a bill on the subject also ensuring that pending legislation, the Minister of Justice will instructed prosecutors to prosecute acts of sexual harassment on other legal bases.

The article will be repealed was as follows: "The harassment of another person in order to obtain favors of a sexual nature is punishable by one year in prison and 15,000 euros fine." Its repeal "is applicable to all cases not considered permanently", that is to say in cassation, specify the "Wise Men".

Until a new text to be adopted by the legislature, those whose trials are in progress can no longer be convicted of this offense.

The Council was seized of this matter through a priority issue of constitutionality raised by the Court of Cassation Gerard Ducray, a former member of the Rhone, sentenced on appeal in 2011 for sexual harassment three-month prison sentence and 5,000 euros for fine. He considered that the penal code, leaving the judge too much discretion the elements of the offense alleged against him, allowing "all the excesses, all interpretations," pleaded his counsel, Ms. Claire Waquet, to April 17 hearing before the Sages.

Read: "The Constitutional Council censorship law on sexual harassment"


The law "contained many inaccuracies regarding the definition of the offense," said his side responded Lyrics feminist women's association, adding that she works "a new bill" to be submitted to the new majority. "Our fear is the legal limbo in which will find themselves victims whose cases are under way and the new victims, the association in writing. Meanwhile the new law, our idea, proposed by our lawyer, is to file a complaint for assault with intent. "

The President of the Senate delegation to the rights of women, Brigitte Gonthier-Maurin (Communist group, republican, citizen), also found that there was "emergency legislation" to "fill the faster the legal vacuum resulting from this repeal. " "To this end, the Senate delegation to the rights of women will start thinking in the context of the preparation of a bill," she said in a statement.


The Communist Party (PCF) has ruled that it "irresponsible" decision. "With this decision, no appeal is possible for women victims of harassment. Ongoing trials are now obsolete. The perpetrators of sexual harassment are absolved of any liability and go unpunished. This fateful decision for women lets us see once more the trivialization of machismo and violence they suffer, "said the PCF, adding:" We call for the immediate, the Constitutional Council back its decision and that the current law, however imperfect, continues to be applied to the adoption of a new law. "

The same goes for the Left Party, who sees "impunity for several months." "Although the law was insufficient and sometimes turned against women accused of false accusation. But instead of improving it, twenty years of struggle to reverse the impunity enjoyed by abusive men, often in positions of power whether economic, political or otherwise, are deleted from a blow to the detriment of women. [...] It is irresponsible and a sign of contempt for women victims of harassment, "the party said in a statement.

The NPA also denounces "disgraceful decision" and "a serious setback for women's rights and its immediate application allows thousands of women prosecuted in a situation of intolerable injustice." "We need to change the law on sexual harassment to strengthen the rights of victims, not to clear so-called 'good life' and other 'naughty'. The NPA is associated with the indignation of all the women involved and participate in unit mobilization for a redefinition of sexual harassment as an offense and the end of impunity, "it said in a statement.

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