Tribute to Robert Badinter: the man who abolished the death penalty

The father of the abolition of the death penalty, Robert Badinter, died on February 9, 2024. A national tribute was organized on Wednesday February 14 at Place Vendôme, in the presence of Emmanuel Macron.

 

At Place Vendôme on Wednesday February 14, Emmanuel Macron spoke at a national tribute to Robert Badinter, who died on February 9, 2024. The former Keeper of the Seals under Mitterrand made the abolition of the death penalty his battle horse, winning his cause in 1981.

 

 

The tribute ceremony began at noon with the coffin entering Place Vendôme from the Ministry of Justice. A short film retracing the life of Robert Badinter was shown, accompanied by Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. After the eulogy delivered by the President of the Republic, the remains of the humanist lawyer left at 12.45pm.

 

Who was Robert Badinter?

 

Robert Badinter died in Paris, the city where he was born 95 years ago. Law professor, activist, lawyer, minister, President of the Constitutional Council, senator and essayist, he defended a humanist vision of justice throughout his life. Born into a Jewish family who had emigrated from Russia (now Moldavia), Robert Badinter and his mother managed to escape the Gestapo in the 40s, while his father was forced to flee.

 

Passionate about justice, he joined the Paris Bar in 1951. With Henry Torrès, his mentor, he shared an uncompromising conception of his profession. “You are a lawyer”, Torrès asserted, when “You defend a man who has killed or stolen, because he is a man first”.

 

A few months after Mitterrand came to power in May 1981, Robert Badinter gave his legendary speech to the French National Assembly, which established the abolition of the death penalty in France.

 

“Robert Badinter had chosen life… For five years, he was the most attacked minister in France,” insisted Macron on the Place Vendôme, already planning to admit him to the Pantheon.

 

Beyond the death penalty

 

From 1986 to 1995, Badinter was President of the French Constitutional Council, and then sat in the Senate under the PS banner until 2011. During his career, he also decriminalized homosexual relations for under-21s (making them identical to heterosexual relations) and improved prison conditions.

 

Recognized by all as a true man of the left, Robert Badinter drew inspiration from his hero, Victor Hugo, in his humanist battles. In 2013, he wrote an opera, “Claude”, inspired by his favorite author’s novel “Claude Gueux”.

 

His latest book, entitled “La Démocratie illibérale”, will be published by Fayard on December 26, 2024.

 

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Cover photo: Robert Badinter at the National Assembly on September 17, 1981 © Yan Morvan

Curieuse et dynamique, Lhou Lagrange est constamment à la recherche de nouvelles aventures. Elle s’intéresse principalement aux nouvelles technologies, aux sciences sociales et à la géopolitique pour décrypter les tendances sociétales et rester agile. D’une âme polyvalente, elle combine ses connaissances et ses compétences pour servir sa jeune plume.

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