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France: Constitutional Council Validates DNA Testing for Immigration Cases

(Dec. 2, 2007) On November 15, 2007, the Constitutional Council of France found that voluntary recourse to DNA testing, limited to showing the relationship with the mother when there is serious doubt regarding the authenticity of a document presented to establish family ties, does not violate the principle of equality of citizens before the law. The Council, however, listed several reservations aimed at prohibiting "a systematic recourse to DNA testing in the states where the testing will be conducted during the trial period." (See 11 W.L.B. 2007.)

The Council also found that the provision on DNA testing, as drafted, did not infringe upon the right to family reunification, the right of privacy, and the principle of respect for the dignity of the human person. The Council struck down a provision of the law allowing the gathering of statistics showing the ethnic or racial origin of a person as contrary to article 1 of the Constitution, which states, "France is an indivisible, secular, democratic and social Republic. It ensures the equality of all citizens before the law, without distinction of origin, race or religion." (Conseil Constitutionnel, Decision 2007-557 of Nov. 15, 2007.)