Wednesday, 16 March 2011

cosmopolitan lawyers

Robert Badinter
bossing dear old Britain about, dear oh dear, telling the UK all prisoners must vote (they didn't).  Robert Badinter, pictured, says Margaret Thatcher once called him exactly that.  I think he was rather proud.  I heard him speak yesterday at the Council of Europe.  He is almost 83, not exactly an electrifying speaker, but very interesting to hear.  He is still a senator (Parti Socialiste, natch), was a minister under Mitterrand, and was the architect of the abolition of the death penalty in France in 1981 - you can hear his speech on that occasion here.  Obviously it, and the speech I heard yesterday, are in French, but some of my readers can understand it I know.  The main point of his speech was that without the European Convention on Human Rights governments would retain laws and policies for political expediency, populism or electoral gain which militate against individual human rights as well as democracy and the rule of law.  France would still have the death penalty if it was not for the Convention, he says, and he may be right, special pleading aside.  When asked (by a Ukrainian journalist as it happens) what were the greatest obstacles to democracy, human rights and the rule of law throughout the wider Europe, he went straight to the current policies of the British government, on a Bill of Rights, prisoners' votes and so on.  He summed up by saying "Patriotisme, oui.  Nationalisme, non!"

8 comments:

Augustus Carp said...

Interesting. In the 1930s, the word "Cosmopolitan" was not-too-subtle code for "Jewish". I wonder if Mrs T knew that?

Anonymous said...

And so say all of us ( those of us who are not rabid fascist pigs, however).

Jane Griffiths said...

Badinter is Jewish. His parents came from what is now Moldova.

Anonymous said...

Jane, the abolition of the Death Penalty in France was before 1981, more late seventies. A serious crime was committed in a small town East of Paris. A child died. Shall pass on the gory details . The public was gagging for the guilty one to be executed. Offices and factories were empty on the day of the jury's verdict with local mothers sitting on the steps of the local Justice court. "Prison a vie" was delivered as a judgement as Death Penalty was just being abolished through French Parliament. The whole of France had its eyes on the town. Its people will never forget. Debates still take place as to whether we should have abolished the Death Penalty. I would talk to your friends outside of Strasbourg Jane. You will get the feel on it. Strasbourg not really being representative of french moods and inclinations. Remember it's Alsace after all!On another note, I do not know if that man is still alive in prison or not and whether he has the right to vote. I knew the parents of the child and the effect it had on them. They died inside.. Am I on subject?

Jane Griffiths said...

Yep I know. Bill passed august 1981, became law October 1981.

Anonymous said...

Jane. How ironic it was this same man who defended. In 2000, the then Justice Minister was looking into the case again. The child's parents did not want the prisoner to be freed. Ever. The Justice Minister did not waver on this then. Does this give him the right to vote?

Anonymous said...

More Common Purpose rose fertilizer.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, someone is going completely off topic, see anon 19.25...a gardener obviously. Likes to get his/her hands dirty by the sound of it. And smelly.Yuk.