Breakfast with Ghislain Benhessa


“There can be no freedom without security.”

On Thursday 18 May, Ghislain Benhessa, lawyer and author of the book “Rule of Law Facing Terrorism”, came to our association to discuss with our members about France’s response to terrorism.

“France is facing the same challenges of the US after 9/11,” acknowledged Benhessa, “The War on Terror is a legal invention of the US, which France is adopting… However, this concept is bound to the institutional and historical structure of the US, where the President is also a commander in chief, and therefore, it is very difficult to transpose it to another legal context, like the French one”.

The War on Terror is not limited to the years of the Bush administration and does no longer refer to an exceptional situation. It is a fully-fledged response to a threat that is still present,” continued Benhessa, who emphasized the importance of prevention, “The real purpose of Guantanamo is not to obtain information but to avoid that terrorists will go back to their cells. This is the meaning of indefinite detention…  John Yoo, legal advisor of Bush, stated that when a country is at war every mean is justified to obtain information”.

“The questions of security and freedom have to be considered as interlinked. There can be no freedom without security. One cannot prevail on the other,” concluded Benhessa.