Paul Touvier, the first and only Frenchman convicted for crimes against humanity, has lost his last appeal against the life sentence imposed on him April 20, 1994.
The Cour de Cassation, France’s supreme court, rejected the appeal June 1.
Touvier and his lawyers have exhausted all possible legal ways to change the sentence, according to French law.
Touvier, who was the head of the collaborationist French militia of Lyon during World War II, was involved in the execution of seven Jewish hostages in Rillieux-la-Paper on June 29, 1944. He can ask for the pardon of French President Jacques Chirac but the chances of success of such a request are not good, according to observers here.
Three other Frenchmen — Reni Bousquet, Jean Leguay and Maurice Papon — have been charged with crimes against humanity, but their cases never went to trial.
Bousquet was appointed Vichy minister of police in 1942. He was charged with having ordered the arrest and deportation of tens of thousands of Jews during the war. But when he was about to be indicted for crimes against humanity, he was murdered. The man who killed Bousquet on June 8, 1993, was described as mentally unbalanced.
Leguay was indicted in 1979 for organizing the first mass roundup of French Jews in 1942. In 1989, only weeks before the start of prosecution, he died of natural cases at the age of 79.
Papon was a high-ranking member of the French administration in charge of the Bordeaux area during World War II. At a time when his region was not yet occupied by the Nazis, he signed orders to arrest and deport, 1,690 Jews.
Papon, now in his 80s, served the French government after the war, becoming a Cabinet member in the 1970s. Papon was first charged with crimes against humanity in 1981 and was indicted in 1983. He has not been brought to trial and some believe that he never will. But according to some reports to some reports leaked to the press before last month’s presidential election, Papon may stand trial in the fall.