You knew Father Olivier Maire and his community. How do you live this drama?
It’s a huge shock. I was personally very touched by this barbaric act. First touched humanely because I knew him well. A neighbor of Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre, I was a student of Saint-Gabriel, one of the three branches of Montfortian and Marian spirituality. I know what I owe to this establishment. He was a man of great goodness, of great faith and of great culture. His homilies were deep, filled with biblical and literary references. He was one of the very great specialists of the Montfortian community. As such, it is a huge loss. I am doubly touched because I am also a politician and I do not come to terms with this revolting death, which our institutions should have prevented.
We heard this same anger in the political world, and the Minister of the Interior denounced a controversial instrumentalisation. What is your analysis?
When I hear Mr. Gérald Darmanin being satisfied by saying that the State was there, I find that astounding! We are tied up by a technocracy that delights in respecting legal procedures. The procedure takes precedence over the result. But this assassination is, unfortunately, a concentrate of all the sovereign deficiencies and the state’s inability to protect the French. This drama is the product of a legal fiasco.
How does this tragedy illustrate the flaws in a system if the authorities claim that this murderer was not deportable since he was placed under judicial control?
If the rules do not protect the French, then they must be changed. What I reproach the government with is its self-satisfaction and its half-measures, because this judicial fiasco combines three failures: the migration issue, the inadequacies of justice and the monitoring of psychiatric patients. This Rwandan murderer entered French territory in 2012 and has remained there illegally since that date. He was the subject of three OQTF (obligations to leave French territory), which the justice system worked to neutralize each time. If the first OQTF had been applied, Nantes Cathedral would not have burned down and Father Olivier Maire would be alive. The third time, the judicial control ordered after the fire in Nantes cathedral exempted him from the removal measures. For some magistrates – not all – the migrant has replaced the proletarian. He has become the redemptive figure that must be protected at all costs. In Bordeaux, a few months ago, the administrative court of appeal extended the right of asylum to climate refugees. This potentially represents hundreds of millions of people! A deportable alien must be deported, full stop.
What main judicial failures do you observe in this case?
After his indictment, this refugee was probably released because he lacked prison places and because there is a chronic slowness of justice. Judicial control has become a sort of measure for managing the shortage of places. This penal policy is adjusted to the prison numerus clausus. As for the follow-up of psychiatric patients, one can wonder why this man, who had stayed in a psychiatric hospital, left it on July 29. A few days later, he killed the priest… It is not possible that we did not notice, in prison, the serious psychiatric disorders of this individual. Has it been the subject of a real follow-up? I’m asking the question.
What decisions do you expect from the executive?
We will have to change the law profoundly. In every tragedy, the government cannot simply say that it has been correctly applied and thus abandon itself to fate. We must stop slacking off and assume two revolutions: the first to put an end to migratory slackness, the second to put common sense back into court decisions. On these two points, Emmanuel Macron will have followed in the footsteps of François Hollande. It widened the possibilities of family reunification and got thousands of delinquents out of prison with the Belloubet law, under the pretext of the Covid.
France has become the most generous country in Europe and the first country of rebound for those who have been refused asylum. We must make our aid to source countries and our visa policy conditional on the issuance of consular passes when we want to deport a foreign national. Voted in the Senate, this measure was refused in the National Assembly. Since 2012, illegal stay is no longer a crime. It must be restored. Finally, we must drastically limit family reunification and raise our requirements for naturalizations.
A penal revolution is needed – and it is not simply a question of means – which must put the victim back at the heart of the judicial decision. What is the use of a right that no longer protects victims? While we are doing everything in France to avoid prison, we must, as in the Netherlands, rehabilitate the short sentences and the certainty of imprisonment.
Why do you insist on the question of the responsibility of judges?
Those who have decided to oppose deportation or who have released such a dangerous individual cannot shirk this question of responsibility. Between 2015 and 2020, out of 1,700 complaints lodged by litigants, the Superior Council of the Judiciary did not impose any sanction. Is this normal?