Friday, June 11, 2004

France Bulletin

Papon to be told 'no' for the last time

To-morrow, Maurice Papon, 93, will receive the decision in the last possible appeal of his 1998 war crimes conviction. His previous appeal was denied last April.

A plenary session of the court of appeals, it's most solemn formation, will consider the legality of his arrest on April 2, 1998 by the Gironde court of assizes. (The court will not reconsider Papon's guilt). Papon's lawyers argued that the arrest was illegal in 1999 but, before his case could be heard, French law required that Papon enter prison. Instead of doing so he fled to Switzerland, nullifying the appeal.

The practice of requiring incarceration before the process of appealing the original conviction has been exhausted (known as "mise en état") has been condemned several times by the European Human Rights Convention (CEDH), to which Papon's lawyers took his case.

Papon currently resides in Gretz-Armainvilliers (Seine-et-Marne).

Attrocity Remembered

On June 10, 1944, the Der Führer Regiment of the Das Reich 2nd Waffen-SS Panzer Division destroyed the small village of Oradour-sur-Glane (Haute-Vienne), killing 642 people, including 213 children and 246 women.

Prime minister Rafarrin attended ceremonies commemorating the 60th anniversary of the massacre.

"France has never forgotten. France will never forget," he said, adding that the ceremonies were an "absolute necessity," after those commemorating the "liberating allied landings."

At the moment when "hope was reborn on the beaches of Normandy," the "nameless, the inexplicable, the unforgettable was committed" in this Limosin village, said Raffarin, expressing his "profound respect for such suffering," but also his "unshakable faith in the destiny of our country and the triumph of its values."

The SS division that committed the atrocity included Alsatians forcibly enlisted by the Germans, known as "malgré-nous," ("despite ourselves"). At a 1953 trial, 13 of the malgré-nous were convicted and then pardoned by parliament, acting under pressure from Alsatian MPs and provoking outrage among the inhabitants of Oradour.

PM Raffarin heard accounts of the two remaining survivors, Marcel Darthout, 80, and Robert Herbas, 79, and then went to the Memorial Esplanade, where the French military chorus sang "La Prière de Saint-François d'Assise" by François Poulenc, Resistance anthem Le Chant des partisans and the national anthem, Marseillaise.

German chancellor Shröder also paid homage to the victims of Oradour on Sunday.

Epinay Serial Batterer to be Arraigned

Authorities have identified our nutcase. His name is Eskander Geffine and he denies the charges, preferring to speak of a "mysterious plot," which the police say "doesn't hold water."

The police say he is "somewhat mystical" and "very interested by matters of religion," often attending a Paris mosque. They add that he doesn't even fit the profile of "a moderate Islamist, let alone a radical one," though his family "is very observant." Israel Ifrah, the 18 year-old Jew among his victims, has regained consciousness and identified a photo of the man, corroborating the statements of the other victims. However, Ifrah said he wasn't "100% certain."
Racist Cow Bardot Fined €5,000... Again

For the third freekin' time, the woman who suffered history's most catastrophic decline in good looks has been fined for hate speech.

In May, NP readers learned that Brigitte Bardot had been dragged to court again. The court handed down its decision to-day, fining Bardot and her publisher, éditions du Rocher, €5,000 each.

Passages of her book, "A Cry in the Silence" denounce interracial marriage and Islam and also castigate the unemployed, homosexuals, women in government and Muslims in general.

Bardot was fined for similar reasons in 1997 and again 1998.

Widespread Underground Collapses Threaten France

The Bureau of Geological and Mining Resourcesannounced that more than 500,000 of France's underground cavities are liable to sink, if not to collapse entirely.

Most are located in urban areas in the north and 70% to 80% are man made. Normandy is one of the most heavily affected regions: the two departments in the Haute-Normandie (Seine-Maritime and Eure) region have between 100,000 and 120,000 such potential sink holes alone.

The surface of much of france is limestone and from the 17th to the 19th centuries, farmers created the cavities when they mined for chalk in order to make fertilizer.

One collapse in November of 1993 caused the derailment of one of France's high-speed trains, the TGV. The BRGM, however, has only located about 20,000 potential sink holes in 13 departments.

Dieudo & Euro-Palestine List Assail Israel(i Policy)

Along with the newly formed political party Euro-Palestine, Dieudonné gathered 2,000 people on a sports ground Tuesday night for the sole purpose of violently attacking Israeli policy, according to the AP.

On May 27, the Paris criminal court acquitted Dieudonné of charges of hate-speech during a television program in which he appeared as masked orthodox Jew and gave a Nazi salute, saying "IsraHeil!" He was greeted Tuesday evening with a hero's welcome. Dieudonné is third on the party's list.

After the presentation of the party's candidates before a largely Maghreban crowd, the editorial cartoonist Siné (Charlie Hebdo) urged the crowd to boo and hiss at France's Jewish celebrities as well as Jean-Pierre Raffarin and Dominique Strauss-Khan.

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