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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