A new trial for Eric Zemmour. After his conviction on Monday for his remarks on unaccompanied foreign minors, the presidential candidate appeared this Thursday, January 20 before the Paris Court of Appeal for a challenge to crimes against humanity. In December 2020 on CNews during a debate with Bernard-Henri Lévy, Eric Zemmour had reaffirmed that Pétain and the Vichy regime had saved Jews during the Second World War.
During the first hearing, in February 2021, the court had recognized in the words of Éric Zemmour ” the denial of the participation (of Pétain) in the policy of extermination of the Jews carried out by the Nazi regime “. However, he felt that the remarks were made ” point-blank during a debate on the war in Syria and had relaxed the polemicist.
A decision ” strange that we dispute », denounces Samuel Lejoyeux, president of the Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF), contacted by Marianne. ” Since then, he had to repeat these words a good forty times, this argument no longer holds. “If he appealed the decision, just like the prosecution, “ it is because the memory of the genocides is not a question of the past but of the present “.
Will plead, won’t plead
The hearing opens and Olivier Pardo, Éric Zemmour’s lawyer, takes the floor to request a dismissal of the trial. ” It is a tradition, during the presidential campaign, that the debates of opinion are contracted on the democratic scene “, estimates the lawyer who places himself on” the land of the serenity of the debates “. He asks that the case be tried after April 24, the date of the second round of the presidential election.
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A possibility refused by all the lawyers of the civil parties. Patrick Klugman, who defends SOS Racisme, considers that ” Zemmour wants to benefit from the political fruit of his foulness and refuses to have his remarks submitted to judgment “. He denounces a instrumentalization of justice for electoral purposes “. For his part, Alain Jakubowicz, who advises the association J’Accuse, recalls that during a relay hearing in September 2021 ” Zemmour was already in the pre-campaign and his party expressed no opposition on the date of January 20 “.
A dismissal would be ” contemptuous for the civil parties, and it would be arrogant on the part of the candidate to evade a legal appointment which has been made » estimates Stéphane Lilti, lawyer of the UEJF. Responding to his colleagues, Olivier Pardo recalls that Éric Zemmour was not a candidate in September and that his request for dismissal was made as soon as his client declared himself. After 45 minutes of deliberation, the president and his assessors announce the refusal of the request for dismissal.
Immediately, Zemmour’s lawyer gets up and leaves the 17th room. “ It is an iniquitous decision against Éric Zemmour, so I have decided not to defend him against such illegality. », Takes offense Olivier Pardo in front of the press, before leaving without answering the questions.
Victory for the civil parties, who welcome the court’s decision. Thus Samuel Lejoyeux salutes the court which “do not give in to this instrumentalization “and deplores a departure” damaging and amazing “. The president of the UEJF sees in it, him, ” Éric Zemmour’s vision of the debate. He ignores the laws, chained convictions and refuses to comply with decisions “. “ It’s dangerous, he only bends to the rules he decides himself. »
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” It is never pleasant to plead in the absence of the defense », continues Master Jakubowicz, who shares a « deep sense of unease “. For him, the departure of the Zemmour council appears as a ” held ostage “. ” During the hearing suspension, I came across a tweet from Zemmour, he claims that it is abnormal for candidates to be judged in the middle of the camp.gne, that the judges want to do with him as with François Fillon “.
I find it abnormal that presidential candidates are judged in the middle of the campaign. The judges have already stolen the election from François Fillon and right-wing voters. They want to start over.#UnionDesDroites2022#RuthElkrief2022
— Eric Zemmour (@ZemmourEric) January 19, 2022
” Éric Zemmour has decided that the law has no legitimacy as far as he is concerned, he who says that justice is lax, this man is a delinquent “, denounces Patrick Klugman. It ” wants Zemmour and his lawyer to evade and flee the debate, they place themselves in a position to victimize themselves. As after his conviction earlier this week, he will take the opportunity to say that the judges are playing politics since they condemn him “. The lawyer sees in it the electoral strategy of Éric Zemmour who denounces ” evil laws “.
An incomprehensible relaxation
Finally, the lawyers for the civil parties come to the merits of the trial, the appeal after the release of Éric Zemmour and the rehabilitation of Philippe Pétain. The first instance decision was unjustified for Sabrina Goldman representing LICRA. After recalling the many times Éric Zemmour reiterated his theories on Philippe Pétain, she asserts that he is ” unjustifiable to say that Zemmour had no intention of making these remarks “. In its decision, the court recognized the negationist nature of the candidate’s words ” and it is clear that he had the will to bring this dispute to the attention of the public “.
Faced with Bernard-Henri Lévy, “ Zemmour takes it up by insisting that Pétain would have saved French Jews. He does not dispute the sentence in any way and enters into a macabre accounting, implying that French Jews are better than foreigners. “recalls Alain Jakubowicz. ” His intention is clearly to rehabilitate the criminal and therefore, the crime is consubstantial with his work and his technique of generalization. ” Stéphane Lilti, lawyer for the UEJF, recalls that Holocaust denial includes ” the contestation, trivialization, disqualification, partial, conditional or nuanced of crimes against humanity “.
In its requisitions, the public prosecutor considers that Zemmour wanted ” reaffirm the meaning of one’s thought ” and ” the context in no way diminishes the point “. The Advocate General considers that the candidate denies a crime against humanity. He asks the president of the court to reverse the decision of first instance and to condemn Zemmour to 100 day-fine of 100 euros.
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