Updated: Sept. 29, 2013 (Initial publication: Sept. 18, 2013)

Documentary Base : Figures


1928 -

Robert Badinter is a French lawyer, who also was a law professor. He is most famous for having fought as a lawyer in serious criminal cases during which he stated that the death penalty itself was unacceptable, regardless of the cause. Then, in 1981, as Minister of Justice François Mitterrand, he obtained the abolition of the death penalty. Subsequently, in 1986, he became President of the "Conseil constitutionnel" (French Constitutional Council). He defended on the occasion of its various functions his conception of human rights, obtained changes in the legal system in this direction and published extensively on these topics.


After the Second World War, during which his father was deported and died in concentration camps, Robert Badinter began studying law, including making part of his studies at Columbia University.

In 1951, he became a lawyer. In 1952 he defended his thesis "Les conflits de lois en matière de responsabilité civile dans le droit des Etats-Unis" (The conflicts of laws in civil liability Law in the United States)." In 1965, he was given to the "Agrégation des Facultés en droit privé et sciences criminelles". The same year, he founded with his colleague Jean-Denis Bredin, the Badinter-Bredin law firm .In 1974, he became professor at the Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris I).

In 1981, François Mitterrand became the first President of the Fifth Republic, belonging to the Socialist Party. Robert Badinter became his "garde des Sceaux" (Minister of Justice). Robert Badinter performed this function from June 1981 to February 1986. He embodied the program proposals of presidential candidate for justice.

As such, he got the abolition of the death penalty October 9, 1981. By decree, he allowed all litigants before the European Court of Human Rights. In 1985, he facilitated the compensation of victims of traffic accidents. This law is often referred to as "Loi Badinter" (Badinter Act). He organized the reform of the Penal Code.

In 1986, he left his ministerial position to become President of the "Conseil constitutionnel" (French Constitutional Council) until 1995.

At the same time, from 1991 to 1993, he chaired the Arbitration Commission on Yugoslavia, sometimes called "Badinter Commission".

In 1995, he became Senator of Hauts-de-Seine for the Socialist Party until 2004. .

Robert Badinter bibliography (extracts)

  • L'exécution, 1973,
  • L'abolition, Fayard, 2000
  • Une constitution européenne, 2002
  • Le rôle du juge dans la société moderne, 2003,
  • Contre la peine de mort , 2006

Robert Badinter citations


Citations about Robert Badinter



  • To listen and see the presentation of the Law fort the Death Penalty Abolition put before the Parliament, click here, then here.

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