Forty years later, Robert Badinter’s vibrant plea to the National Assembly

    Forty years after his historic speech for the end of the death penalty in France, the former Minister of Justice Robert Badinter made, on Wednesday September 15, a vibrant plea for an abolition “universal”. “I am sure that the movement towards abolition will continue, sooner or later it will triumph”, launched Badinter during a conference organized at the National Assembly for the 40th anniversary of the end of the death penalty.

    In a speech lasting nearly half an hour, standing and without reading his notes, the former minister, aged 93, spoke to an audience of deputies, officials and representatives of civil society who had him. applauded at length. He wished to salute the memory of the then socialist president, François Mitterrand, elected on a program providing for this abolition, and his right-wing successor Jacques Chirac, who had it included in the Constitution.

    But Robert Badinter did not return much to his speech of September 17, 1981 at the Palais-Bourbon, preferring to join “a fight that is not over”. Stressing that of the 198 United Nations states, three quarters had abolished the death penalty in law or in fact, he considered that “the progress of this cause has been beyond our expectations”.

    However, states “very powerful or fanatic” continue to practice it, he said, citing China, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. In the United States, too, executions still take place, but “the march towards abolition is continuous”. In Europe, only Belarus has not yet removed it, which shows “the indissoluble link between dictatorship and the death penalty”, he pointed out.

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