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In the context of hate crime, is racist motivation treated as an aggravating circumstance?

Key Area:
Anti-racist Crime Legislation & Implementation
27/12/2011 - 16:23
Short Answer


Qualitative Info


Following the adoption of the law of 9 of March 2004 on the adaptation of Justice to new forms of criminality, racist, anti-Semitic motivation can be taken into account as aggravating circumstances applicable to all existing offences defined by the Criminal Code. To be more precise, when a crime, as defined by the Criminal Code is committed on grounds of the origin or  belonging, or not-belonging, to a given ethnic group, nation, race or religion of the victim, the sentence is aggravated. Then, the qualification of criminal offences through the definition of this category of aggravating circumstances is in the French law what is commonly called "hate crimes".

Many provisions of French law are already compliant with the requirements of the Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA (including through the law known as 'Gayssot') which has still not been transposed. France will apply this with the provision that it had issued in 2008: it wishes to make 'punishable the act of denying or grossly trivialising the crimes [of genocide] only if these crimes [...] have been established by a final decision of an international court'. This restriction is significant because it would exclude a number of cases, including the Armenian genocide, in the scope of its application.


- Law No. 90-615 intended to eradicate all racist, antisemitic or xenophobic acts, 13 July 1990, JUSX9010223L

- Council of the European Union, Interinstitutional file: 2001/0270(CNS), 26 November 2008



Groups affected/interested
Type (R/D)
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Anti-racism
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