In October 2014, Rémi Fraisse, a young botanist, was killed by a grenade fire during a demonstration against the Sivens dam project, in the Tarn. After years of legal proceedings, last March the Court of Cassation confirmed the dismissal of the gendarme behind the shooting, considering that the use of force had been in accordance with the law.
A heresy for his family who had at the same time seized the administrative court of Toulouse in order to recognize the responsibility of the State in the death of the young man. This Thursday, the judges recognized “the faultless responsibility of the State for the death of Rémi Fraisse in the aftermath of the intervention of the police, on the occasion of the demonstrations on the site of the dam project. Sivens, and compensate the beneficiaries of the victim for their moral damage up to a total amount of 46,400 euros ”, indicates the court in a press release.
And to specify, however, that the court had initially ruled out the faultless liability of the State based on the use of a weapon involving exceptional risks, “insofar as Rémi Fraisse could not be considered as a third party to the police operations leading to his tragic death ”. Likewise, taking into account the context, the chronology of events and the legality at the time of the grenades used, he did not retain “the liability for fault of the State” either.
It is on another point that the administrative judges believe that the State is responsible “without fault”. This decision is based on Article L. 211-10 of the Internal Security Code which provides that the State “is civilly responsible for damage and damage resulting from crimes and offenses committed, by open force or by violence, by assemblies. or armed or unarmed gatherings, either against people or against property. (…) ”.
“In fact, these provisions target not only the damage caused directly by the perpetrators of these crimes or offenses, but also those that may result from the measures taken by the public authority to restore order. The court nevertheless accepted a culpable recklessness committed by the victim such as to partially exonerate the State from its responsibility up to 20% ”, continues the administrative court.
A bitter victory for loved ones
Rémi Fraisse’s parents, his sister and his grandmothers initially requested 75,000 euros each in compensation for moral damage. Her parents will be compensated up to 14,400 euros each, her sister up to 9,600 euros and 4,000 euros for each of her grandmothers.
For those close to him, “this is an important victory, a necessary step in the fight for Rémi’s family, which has never ceased to ask for truth and justice. For the first time, the State is condemned within the framework of an operation of maintenance of order carried out by the gendarmes having resulted in the death of a person ”, indicates Claire Dujardin, their lawyer.
But for her, behind this condemnation, “hides a blatant denial of reality. Denial of what really happened on the Sivens site, denial of the responsibility of the civil authorities, from the prefect of Tarn, to the Prime Minister in this operation to restore order which had only for objective of imposing force at any cost ”.
She also deplores that the court accepted “the fault committed by the victim to exonerate the State from its responsibility up to 20%, due to faulty recklessness”. “This reasoning strikes us as unacceptable and particularly indecent. Rémi Fraisse, a 21-year-old young man, pacifist, nature lover, stayed barely five minutes on the outskirts of the area held by the gendarmes, trying to rescue a person and attempting, in an innocent and naive way, to put end to this violence “, recalls Me Dujardin who indicates that the family will continue to fight” for the honor of Rémi and for all the victims of State violence “.