A newly revealed memo from the French Justice Ministry has revealed Emmanuel Macron’s government has found there is a possibility to prosecute members of the identitarian Defend Europe mission for patrolling the Alpine border for illegal migrant crossings.
The memo, authored by the director of criminal cases and pardons at the Department of Justice, Rémy Heitz, was sent to various magistrates to remind them of offences, “aimed at behaviour hostile to the movement of migrants,” La Dauphine reports.
“The control of the respect of the borders, by the visual surveillance or the construction of obstacles, by people hostile to the movement of the migrants is likely to constitute an intentional interference in the functions police forces,” the memo states.
“The deportation of migrants by these same people, including without violence, is also likely to characterize an offence provided by Article 433-12 of the Penal Code,” the memo adds.
The memo also states that while the Defend Europe activists could be arrested for forcibly deporting illegals there is no provision to arrest them for alerting police to illegal crossings while out watching the border.
— Defend Europe (@DefendEuropeID) April 27, 2018
Mr Heitz added that a second offence could apply to the activists if they were seen to be “creating confusion with a public service.”
French attorney Raphael Balland noted that there is no jurisprudence to date on the second potential offence and there is a lot of room for interpretation of the law.
Since the leak of the memo, public prosecutor Raphaël Balland announced that he would be investigating the identitarian activists for “interference in a public service.”
France to Increase Border Security After Identitarians Use Helicopters, Trucks in Alps ‘Defend Europe’ Action https://t.co/M4FlqfBlbR
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 24, 2018
The Defend Europe activists began their Alps mission last month deploying helicopters and a small aeroplane and leading to French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb announcing tougher border measures immediately following the announcement of the mission.
The mission follows from the first major Defend Europe mission last year in the Mediterranean sea in which activists hired a ship to patrol the search and rescue (SAR) zone off the Libyan coast to monitor migrant rescue NGOs operating in the area.
The operation was met with resistance from far-left groups although the Defend Europe activists were able to work with the Libyan coastguard on at least one occasion when an NGO vessel was alleged to have turn off its transponder while in the SAR zone.
Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com