Robert Badinter, the initiator of the abolition of the death penalty in France in 1981, has died at the age of 95

The lawyer Robert Badinterwho serves as the President’s Attorney General François Mitterrand introduced the law to Parliament France abolished the death penalty in 1981.He died at the age of 95, one of his closest colleagues told the press on Friday.

Badinter, who was in charge of the justice department from 1981 to 1986, worked as a lawyer for many years and then defended people sentenced to the death penalty and executed, finally solidifying his belief that there would be an end to a punishment that viewed as inhumane, but also ineffective.

After leaving the government Mitterrand appointed him President of the Constitutional Council in 1986. a position he held for nine years and which he associated, among other things, with the Arbitration Commission for Peace in Yugoslavia, created by the European Commission in August 1991 to provide legal opinions on the explosion of that country.

At the end of his term in the Constitutional Council, again at Mitterrand’s request, he stood for election to the Senate, although he initially considered the possibility of returning to his profession as a lawyer he won a seat with his Socialist faction, which he held for nine years.

Robert Badinter was born in Paris into a Jewish family from Romania. His father was arrested by the Gestapo in Lyon in 1943. In the middle of the Second World War, when the future lawyer was only 14 years old, he was deported to the Sobibor extermination camp, where he was murdered.

The persecuted family, along with his mother and brother, fled to the Savoy region under false identities during the last half of the war. After the end of the war, he continued his education by studying law, which he completed in the USA.

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He worked as a criminal defense attorney for thirty years starting in 1951 in some very high-profile cases that brought him face to face with the death penalty on several occasions, about which he wrote a book in 1973 called “L’Execution” (The Execution).

Against this background, he introduced the bill to abolish the death penalty into parliament in September 1981, knowing full well that public opinion was overwhelmingly in favor of maintaining it.

Despite everything, he managed to win over the parliamentary majority of the left-wing government at the time, but also a part of the right in the National Assembly, where they were present 369 yes votes and only 113 no votes.

Among the initial reactions to the announcement of his death were the President, Emmanuel Macronhonored Badinter for the first time with a message in X in which he remembered him as a lawyer, as Minister of Justice and as… “The abolitionist man.”

The current head of justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti, who has also worked as a criminal defense lawyer for many years, emphasized on the same social network that Badinter was a “visionary and courageous” minister who “embodyed our republic and its values.”

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