Spread the love

Death of Robert Badinter, father of the abolition of the death penalty in France

Photo: Joel Saget Agence France-Presse After having abolished the death penalty in 1981, in a France then majority in favor of this supreme punishment, Robert Badinter, photographed here in 2018, worked for the universal abolition of capital punishment.

France Media Agency in Paris

3:21 p.m.

  • Europe

Father of the abolition of the death penalty in France in 1981, the former socialist Minister of Justice and lawyer Robert Badinter died on the night of Thursday to Friday, at the age of 95 years.

Kinder of the Seals of the socialist president François Mitterrand (1981-1986), he carried the law of October 9, 1981 which abolished the death penalty, in a France then majority in favor of this supreme punishment. He subsequently worked for the universal abolition of capital punishment.

President Emmanuel Macron praised X as “a figure of the century, a republican conscience, the French spirit”. A national man will be returned to him, he said.

“He will have devoted every second of his life to fighting for what was right, to fighting for fundamental freedoms. The abolition of the death penalty will forever be its legacy for France,” said Prime Minister Gabriel Attal.

The leader of La France Insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, for his part praised his “unparalleled strength of conviction”, remembering a being “simply luminous”.

Robert Badinter was born in Paris on March 30, 1928, into a Jewish family who emigrated from Bessarabia (now Moldova). He died on the anniversary of the roundup on Rue Sainte-Catherine in Lyon, February 9, 1943, during which his father was arrested — he died during deportation to the Sobibor concentration camp, in Poland.

“Lawyer for the assassins”

After studying literature and law and a diploma from Columbia University, he became a lawyer at the Paris bar and simultaneously pursued a career as a business lawyer and university teacher.

At the beginning of the 1950s, he got involved in the defense of freedoms by supporting “porteurs de suitcases”, French activists who organized the transport of funds in support of Algerian separatists at war against France .

Co-founder of a prestigious law firm, he defends personalities, big names in the press or business and occasionally pleads in court.

His fight against the death penalty finds its origins in this morning of November 28, 1972: one of his clients, Roger Bontemps, accomplice in a deadly hostage-taking, has just been executed.

This “challenges your view of justice.” I swore to myself, when leaving the Health Court that morning at dawn, that all my life I would fight the death penalty,” he told AFP in 2021.

Respected today for his humanism in the service of the law, Robert Badinter has long been a hated lawyer, because of his supposed laxity towards criminals.

In 1977, he avoided the death penalty for child murderer Patrick Henry, who was sentenced to life imprisonment. The verdict is greeted with fury and incomprehension. After that, five other men escaped the scaffold thanks to him.

In those years, Robert Badinter often went up the steps of the courts under insults and received threatening letters. “For public opinion, I was the assassins’ lawyer,” he admits.

“Righteous among the righteous”

On June 3, 1983, hundreds of police demonstrated under the windows of his office shouting “Badinter assassin!” » and “Badinter in Moscow!” “. The police boss will have to resign.

This man with a slim figure and thick black eyebrows was married since 1966 to the philosopher Elisabeth Badinter, née Bleustein-Blanchet, with whom he had three children.

In August 1982, he voted to decriminalize homosexuality. To his credit also, the abolition of high security districts, access for French litigants to the European Court of Human Rights or a law on compensation for accident victims.

After his departure from the government, he chaired the Constitutional Council for nine years (1986-1995).

Always very active, he worked on a reform of the UN in the 2000s and on the reform of the Labor Code during the mandate of socialist president François Hollande (2012-2017).

The President of the Constitutional Council, Laurent Fabius, paid tribute to him by speaking to AFP of “a righteous man among the righteous”, who “advanced law and humanism”.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116