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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/t/touvier.paul/press/reuter.060195f


 French supreme court rejects Touvier re-trial
 (Adds details of ruling, background, Papon suit rejected)
    By Sandrine Briclot
    PARIS, June 1 (Reuter) - France's supreme court rejected on
 Thursday an appeal by Nazi collaborator Paul Touvier against a
 life prison sentence for crimes against humanity.
    Touvier, 80, the first Frenchman convicted of crimes against
 humanity, had appealed for a re-trial on legal technicalities.
    An assize court jailed him for life in April last year over
 the 1944 execution of seven Jews at Rillieux-la-Pape, near Lyon,
 when he was intelligence chief of the Lyon militia during World
 War Two.
    The former militiaman, suffering from prostate cancer, is
 serving his sentence at Paris' La Sante prison.
    Touvier's lawyers applied for a retrial on 12 legal counts
 in the supreme court (Cour de Cassation).
    Under French law, assize court verdicts are not subject to
 the ordinary appeal process but can be ``broken'' on procedural
 grounds only by the Cour de Cassation, in which case the
 defendant is sent back for a new assize court trial.
    Touvier's lawyers argued that the 1945 London accords
 defining crimes against humanity ahead of the Nuremberg trials
 of Nazi leaders had not been properly turned into French law.
    The court rejected the argument, saying the accords, which
 were published in the French official bulletin, had become part
 of French law.
    The court also rejected the other main defence claim that
 one of the questions put to the assize jury was too complex.
    The jurors were asked if they believed the Rilleux-la-Pape
 hostages were killed because they were Jews and whether the
 killings were inspired by Nazi ideology -- a legal condition for
 the killings to be declared crimes against humanity.
    Touvier was convicted of picking the seven Jews for
 execution by the Germans in reprisal for the killing of a senior
 French collaborator by Resistance fighters.
    He was sentenced to death twice after the war. But, despite
 being briefly detained in 1947, he managed to hide with the help
 of a far-right Catholic network until his arrest in a monastery
 in Nice in 1989.
    Another Frenchman, Maurice Papon, 84, is awaiting trial on
 charges of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in
 deporting about 1,600 Jews while he was secretary-general of the
 Bordeaux region.
    No date has been set for the trial. Papon later became Paris
 police chief and a government minister.
    An appeals court in Bordeaux on Thursday rejected his libel
 suit against lawyer Gerard Boulanger over his book ``Maurice
 Papon, a French Collaborationist Technocrat.''

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