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Hungary/France: Follow-up to ZZZ39755.E of 13 September 2002 on desertion from the French Foreign Legion

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 22 January 2003
Citation / Document Symbol ZZZ41014.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Hungary/France: Follow-up to ZZZ39755.E of 13 September 2002 on desertion from the French Foreign Legion, 22 January 2003, ZZZ41014.E, available at: [accessed 30 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

In response to questions posed by the Research Directorate, the Defense Attaché of the French Embassy in Ottawa provided the following information detailing punishments imposed on individuals who desert from the French Foreign Legion (FFL):

A charge is brought against any deserter in the public prosecutor's office which has jurisdiction over the regiment to which he is assigned, pursuant to article 698-1 of the code of criminal procedure, for a "serious suspicion of desertion" - an act that is covered and sanctioned by articles 398 and ff. of the articles of war, which can range from termination of the proceedings to a firm or suspended prison sentence not exceeding three years (if the desertion takes place on French territory and in peacetime) (24 Oct. 2002).

In the event that a deserter returns to his country of origin, the Attaché stated that "[n]o legal proceedings or enquiry is undertaken by the Foreign Legion; the deserter's contract of service is purely and simply cancelled by a decision of the Minister of Defence" (France. 24 Oct. 2002). Furthermore, there is no extradition agreement between France and Hungary; however, if

a deserter is sentenced in absentia to serve a prison term - and where this sentence is recorded in the national registry and is not eligible for any amnesty provision - as soon as the judgment has been served (possibly during clearance through customs or the border police, or during a control by the Gendarmerie or the Police), the person concerned will have an opportunity to consent to the judgment or to oppose it, in which case he will be retried (ibid.).

This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


France. 24 October 2002. Embassy of France, Ottawa. Correspondence with the Defense Attaché. Translated by the Multilingual Translation Directorate, Public Works and Government Services Canada.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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