About us


History of the association

1998 - Creation of ASF France by François Cantier, lawyer. Its members participated in the founding project of the Avocats Sans Frontières movement: "Justice for all in Rwanda", alongside ASF Belgium, by defending the accused and victims of the Rwandan genocide before the courts of that country. In 1999, ASF France contributed to the implementation of a new project of the same nature in Burundi.
1999-2002 - A new project was initiated in Kosovo. It aims, on the one hand, to defend Kosovars, Albanians or Serbs, prosecuted for crimes against humanity or war crimes, and on the other hand, to train lawyers, judges and prosecutors in the new international legal instruments in force, and finally to promote access to justice through a legal aid system.
1999-2009 - ASF France is present in Colombia to deal with cases of lawyers threatened or assassinated because of their professional practice.
2004 - ASF France is present in Nigeria for a project to train and strengthen the actors of the penal chain. 
2005-2012 - ASF France intervenes in Cambodia for the training of judicial personnel in international legal tools.
2006-2009 - ASF France implements a project to provide access to the law by installing lawyers throughout Cambodia. The project will be renewed between 2010 and 2012.
2007-2012 - In French-speaking Africa, ASF France implements technical and pedagogical training for lawyers and human rights defenders from 15 different countries. 
2008 - ASF France celebrates its 10th anniversary and launches the International Observatory for Lawyers in Danger.
2008 - ASF France joins forces with ASF Mali to facilitate access to justice for vulnerable people by setting up a legal caravan.
2008-2013 - ASF France set up an action to defend the victims of the Khmer Rouge before the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). 
SINCE 2009 - ASF France has been implementing two projects in Nigeria aimed at combating and eradicating torture in places of detention.
2009-2016 - In Laos, ASF France contributes to the training of student lawyers in legal tools to protect fundamental rights and in professional practice.
2010-2014 - ASF France and ASF Cameroon are implementing a project to defend vulnerable people, particularly detainees, with training for lawyers and judicial staff. 
SINCE 2011 - ASF France is involved in Nigeria in the fight against the death penalty.
2012-2015 - ASF France is involved in Tunisia in a project to strengthen the institutional capacities of the Institut Supérieur de la Profession d'Avocat (ISPA).
SINCE 2013 - ASF France and ASF Mali have set up a system for access to justice and the defence of unjustly detained persons, along with training for staff in the criminal justice system on international human rights protection tools.
2014-2016 - ASF France is leading a project to combat homophobia in Cameroon, which aims to raise awareness and/or train the media, religious authorities, actors in the criminal justice system and civil society in the protection of the rights of LGBTI people, while ensuring their defence before national courts.
SINCE 2015 - ASF France has been implementing actions in the province of Battambang in Cambodia to promote access to the law, and is continuing its work there in 2018 as part of a project to combat gender-based violence.
2015 - Defending the rights of migrants in France, Calais, and Greece.
2016-2018 - ASF France intervenes in Côte d'Ivoire as part of a project to strengthen the capacities and protection of human rights NGOs.
2016 - ASF France is involved in a project to defend women and minors in prison and victims of abuse in Chad. 
2016 - ASF France is involved in a project in Côte d'Ivoire to support human rights defenders who are harassed or threatened because of their commitment. 
2017 - Me Vincent Fillola and Me Julien Pourquié Kessas are elected co-Presidents; Me François Cantier becomes Honorary President. 
2018 - ASF France celebrates its 20th anniversary and chooses to strengthen its support to local actors in the countries where it operates (Ivory Coast, Mali, Nigeria, Chad, Cambodia) and develops its action in the direction of vulnerable groups, children, women and LGBTI. 
2019 - ASF France is working on new issues, in particular the fight against extrajudicial executions and arbitrary detention in Nigeria. A new project to provide legal support to asylum seekers on the island of Samos was also set up. 
2020 - ASF France starts four new projects: two in Mali, one in Cameroon and one in Haiti.

In addition

In parallel with these projects, ASF France has also intervened in specific cases, defending defendants or victims, in particular
2002 - ASF France participated in the defence of Amina Lawal, a young Nigerian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery; she was acquitted in September 2003.
2005-2007 - Defence of Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor in Libya.
2010 - Participation in the trial of the murderers of Floribert Chebeya, a human rights defender in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
2012 - ASF France supports and works with the Pakistani lawyers of Asia Bibi, a young woman sentenced to death for blasphemy. At the end of 2018, following the acquittal and release of Asia Bibi, ASF France mobilised to come to the aid of her lawyer who was threatened with death and had to flee the country.
2018 - ASF France participated in the observation mission of the trial of the so-called "Moria 35", 35 exiles arbitrarily arrested in 2017 in the Moria camp in Greece. 
Several statutes recognise the importance of our work: consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (2004), with the African Union (2012), and with the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF-2005). In 2018, ASF France was elected to the Presidency of the Thematic Commission on Peace, Democracy and Human Rights and to the Vice-Presidency of the Conference of INGOs.

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