WIN is delighted to publish this guest blog – the first analysis of the new French law to protect whistleblowers adopted in 2016. This is a preliminary pass through the new law’s provisions which the author trusts will help stimulate discussion and encourage further analysis.
Jean-Philippe Foegle is a PhD candidate at the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense” in Paris and visiting researcher at the Information Society Project, Yale Law School. His research focuses on the regulation of whistleblowing in France, the US and the UK. Jean-Philippe is also helping to coordinate a two-year research project funded by the French Ministry of Justice to explore how the implementation of Council of Europe’s Recommendation on the Protection of Whistleblowers could improve the efficacy of of French whistleblower protection.
The new French law on the protection of whistleblowers reflects a paradox. Although many prominent whistleblowers are French citizens – think, for example, of Antoine Deltour or Hervé Falciani – it was not until 2013 that real protection for whistleblowers emerged in the wake of corruption and environmental scandals. Before the passage of fragmented legislation protecting whistleblowers in France, most whistleblowers were nevertheless protected through the case-law of the French courts. This protection remained largely theoretical, however, due to long delays in court proceedings : it took almost ten years before the prominent environmental whistleblower André Cicolella was finally able to his case beyond the French private law supreme court, the “Cour de Cassation”.
The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights published its draft report on Improving the Protection of Whistleblowers in light of the revelations of Edward Snowden [19 March 2015].
The Committee stressed the importance of ensuring that secrecy for reasons of national security does not act as a cover for wrongdoing or is used to stifle public debate and calls on all member States to ensure whistleblower protection covers all those working in national security and intelligence-related fields.
This Committee held two inquiries and its first report on Mass Surveillance was published only weeks ago in January 2015.
Snowden testifying at CoE, with WIN Director Anna Myers, 2nd left.
The Council of Europe’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights held the second of two public hearings on mass surveillance and strengthening whistleblower protection on June 24th. At both hearings Edward Snowden gave evidence by video link and in the second hearing, Anna Myers, the Expert Coordinator of the Whistleblowing International Network, also gave a statement. Continue reading
Pieter Omtzigt (Dutch MP) is reporting on mass surveillance and strengthening whistleblower protection for the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights. See statement on PACE website and the Introductory Memorandum broadly setting out the issues Mr. Omtzigt will examine.