Special envoy to Bordeaux
Emmanuel Macron learned of the death of Robert Badinter while starting a trip to Bordeaux dedicated… to justice. “It’s quite a striking coincidence,” noted an Elysee advisor just after the announcement of the death of the former Minister of Justice. The President of the Republic came to attend the swearing-in of the auditors of the National School of Magistrates (ENM), located in the wine capital. He paid tribute to him by opening his speech to more than 450 future magistrates in black robes, the largest promotion in the history of the school founded in 1958, as the Head of State underlined. “This day which you will remember all your life will be forever marked by the imprint of this lawyer of character and profession, who fought his life for the Enlightenment, for justice, for France, which were for him three times the name of his ideal,” he declared.
A little earlier, on the X network, the head of state praised “a figure of the century, a republican conscience, the French spirit”. “The nation has certainly lost a great man, a very great lawyer” and “a wise person beyond his duties, who always helped clarify the most delicate decisions,” he added after his visit to the central police station in Bordeaux. Asked later by the press about a possible entry into the Pantheon of the man who brought about the abolition of the death penalty in 1981, Emmanuel Macron did not say no. “I will have the opportunity to speak during the tribute,” he said, after speaking with ENM listeners, while noting that “these things take time.”
In 2021, Emmanuel Macron commemorated the 40th anniversary of the abolition of the death penalty during a ceremony at the Pantheon, in the presence of Robert Badinter. The two men then launched a call for the “universal abolition” of the death penalty. Under the prestigious dome, the nonagenarian affirmed that “the death penalty is doomed to disappear in the world, because it is a shame for humanity”. “In France and Europe, voices that we thought were stifled are emerging from the depths of history to call for the reestablishment” of capital punishment, for his part deplored Emmanuel Macron.
Where Robert Badinter had devoted a large part of his public life to advocating for great principles, Emmanuel Macron has focused instead, since he came to power, on trying to improve the efficiency of justice on a daily basis. Before the ENM auditors took their oath, he heard the highest Bordeaux magistrates thank him for the considerable budgetary effort made for justice. Honey in his ears, he who praises an increase in these means of 60% between 2017 and 2027. The first president of the Bordeaux Court of Appeal also admitted the “distrust” of the French vis-à-vis the judicial institution.
Emmanuel Macron, for his part, delivered a speech in the form of a firm command: “We must halve the time limits for our justice by 2027. This is not an objective, it is an imperative.” In front of a few journalists, he then pointed out “the gap between media time and public action time”. “Where the news item, in a way, sets a rhythm that goes with media time, because there is a reaction, emotion, the in-depth response takes time.” And to add that “since 2017, we have laid the groundwork, invested a lot of money, we have changed the laws”. Even if the “results” are “so far from the generating fact”, he recalled.
So much so that the lofty idea of justice defended by Robert Badinter sometimes seems abstract and distant from the French.