On 18 September, it will be 40 years since the death penalty was abolished in France. This was the result of the work of Robert Badinter, who was fighting the battle of his life. As a young man, Robert Badinter was confronted with Nazi barbarism, and in the early 1970s he became a fervent campaigner for the abolition of the death penalty. He was able to bring this fight to a successful conclusion with the election of François Mitterrand, who gave him his support. A great humanist with a passion for justice, Robert Badinter left his mark on the ministry, as witnessed by the many political and legal figures who worked with him, such as Laurent Fabius and François Binet.

Personally, I did not know what to expect. I did not know much about the subject before I started the documentary.

There are various arguments for looking at the death penalty. But I think there are more arguments against it than for it.

Firstly, the death penalty is not humane. What I mean by this is that it deprives the offender of the opportunity to see the error of his ways and make amends for it. It is also true that the death penalty is often a way that is too ‘easy’ to punish offenders.  The death penalty is also a violation of the right to life. This right is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The death penalty is also irreversible. Mistakes are often made, which means that an innocent person can be executed.

But there are also some arguments for introducing the death penalty. It is much cheaper than leaving someone in prison for life. We also have to consider that if there is no death penalty, there is a chance that a murderer will be released one day. This person could then commit another murder.

Following the film in French was relatively easy but the discussion afterwards was difficult to follow as it went very fast. Therefore, it was difficult to ask questions as sometimes I did not know if the question had already been asked or not.


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