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The Criminalisation of Armed Jihad under French Law: Guilt by Association in the Age of Enemy Criminal Law

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This article discusses the offence of participation in a terrorist group or conspiracy under French law, as applied by the French criminal justice system to prosecute and convict individuals who travel or attempt to travel abroad to participate in armed jihad. In light of a critical assessment of decisions rendered by French courts in cases involving jihadi fighters, it proposes to reflect on the orientation of the criminal law in matters relating to the participation of European nationals in armed jihad in foreign territory. Expressing concern over the excessive reach of substantive criminal-law provisions and of related prosecutorial policies, the article argues that the current legal framework and newly proposed legislation no longer serve the legitimate objective of protecting public order and safety from a tangible threat, and that the criminal law is at risk of becoming a tool of ideological warfare against designated enemies of the state.

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