Insights Interview

Badinter, "a beacon of light in the mist”

Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan, director of Ensemble contre la peine de mort (ECPM) and a friend, tells the story of the former Minister of Justice.

< photograph © Maxence Rifflet, Le grand Robert, 2020. Photo of Robert Badinter holding a model of a pavilion from the Mauzac detention centre in Paris on Wednesday, 13 June 2018. This photograph is from Maxence Rifflet’s book Nos prisons (Le point du jour, 2022).

Robert Badinter, a leading figure in the abolition of the death penalty in France, passed away on 9 February. Serving as Minister of Justice, as well as being a lawyer, jurist, and essayist, Robert Badinter was esteemed across diverse professions and activist circles. He embodies the fight for greater social justice and respect for human rights. His commitment to Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM), a French association campaigning for the universal abolition of capital punishment, is noteworthy. Badinter played a key role in the founding of ECPM in the late 1990s and later became its Honorary President. Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan, director of ECPM since 2009, regularly met with the former Minister of Justice. Over time, they developed a close friendship through their shared cause.

Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan recounts to Prison Insider the story of privileged moments spent with this iconic figure in history.

He asked me many questions, eager to grasp my viewpoints and observations on today’s global scene.

He was living proof that it was possible to thoughtfully engage with the modern world without the need to tweet or like on social media.

Robert Badinter's crusade extended far beyond the abolition of the death penalty, encompassing the humanisation of prisons and the dignity of prisoners.


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