Home » National tribute in France for Robert Badinter, who will enter the Pantheon – rts.ch

National tribute in France for Robert Badinter, who will enter the Pantheon – rts.ch

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National tribute in France for Robert Badinter, who will enter the Pantheon – rts.ch

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday presided over a national tribute to Robert Badinter, who championed the abolition of capital punishment as justice minister. He hailed a “force” which “snatches life from the hands of death” and announced its upcoming entry into the Pantheon in Paris.

Robert Badinter was “the Republic made man”, further underlined the French head of state in a speech delivered on Place Vendôme in Paris.

It is in this symbolic and unique place, in front of the Ministry of Justice, that France paid tribute to the memory of the former Minister of Justice who died last week at the age of 95. It was in fact there that the minister of former President François Mitterrand wrote the law abolishing the supreme punishment, going against public opinion at the time.

The entry of his coffin into the square, from the ministry, was applauded by a crowd of several hundred people who came to attend this ceremony open to the public, despite light rain.

At the Pantheon, “alongside those who have done so much for human progress”

Emmanuel Macron was solemn to announce the next entry of Robert Badinter into the Pantheon. A republican temple in the heart of the Latin Quarter of Paris, the Pantheon proclaims on its pediment “To great men, the grateful homeland”. The graves of 81 people are there.

“Your name must be inscribed alongside those who have done so much for human progress and for France and are waiting for you, in the Pantheon,” launched the Head of State in the presence of the philosopher Elisabeth Badinter, widow of the who was, in the president’s words, “the forever advocate of this cause, abolition.”

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An expected consecration

Pantheonization can take the form of a simple plaque in the name of the deceased, a cenotaph – a funerary monument which does not contain a body – or a burial.

As of Friday, barely hearing the news of his death, the French president had let this possibility float. “It’s legitimate”, because to the Pantheon go “the great men who brought great ideas”, said Wednesday on France Info the president of the Constitutional Council Laurent Fabius, a position occupied by Robert Badinter from 1986 to 1995.

Un long combat

Born into a Jewish family that emigrated from Bessarabia (now Moldova), Robert Badinter witnessed his father’s arrest in Lyon during the Second World War. He died during deportation to Poland.

His fight against the death penalty began on the morning of November 28, 1972: one of his clients, Roger Bontems, an accomplice in a deadly hostage-taking, had just been guillotined. The fight against death became his reason for being. After Patrick Henry, murderer of a child in 1976, Robert Badinter saved the heads of five other convicts, Emmanuel Macron recalled on Wednesday, who made “an oath to be faithful” to his convictions.

But the French president also had dark words. “You are leaving us at the moment when […] your ideals, our ideals, are threatened. The universal that makes all lives equal. The rule of law that protects free lives.”


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