FRANCE - Abolitionist
State of civil and political rights: Free
Constitution: 28 September 1958, amended in 1962, 1992 and 1993
Legal System: civil law system with indigenous concepts; review of administrative but not legislative acts
Legislative System: bicameral Parliament (Senate and National Assembly)
Judicial System: Supreme Court of Appeals (Cour de Cassation) designated by the High Judiciary Council and appointed by the President; Constitutional Council (Conseil Constitutionnel); Council of State (Conseil d'Etat)
Religion: Roman Catholic 83%-88%, Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, Muslim 5%-10%, unaffiliated 4%
Date of death penalty abolition: 09/09/1981
International Treaties on the Death Penalty and Human Rights:
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- 1st Optional Protocol to the Covenant
- Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (aiming to the abolition of the death penalty)
- Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
- 6th Protocol to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (concerning the abolition of the death penalty)
- European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Protocol No. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances
- Statute of the International Criminal Court (which excludes the death penalty)
The death penalty was abolished in France on September 9, 1981, mainly through the efforts of then Socialist Justice Minister, Robert Badinter. Like its European Union partners, it refuses to send prisoners to countries where they could face the death penalty.
On January 30, 2007, the French National Assembly unanimously decided to remove the death penalty from the French Consitution. ‘Noone can be sentenced to death,’ states the only article of the Consitutional Law Bill that modifies the VIII title of the Fundamental Charter.
The last public execution by guillotine was carried out on June 17, 1939. Eugene Weidmann was executed before a large crowd in Versailles. France then banned public executions, confining them to a prison courtyard, where they continued until 1977. The last non- public use of the guillotine took place at Baumetes Prison, in Marseilles, on September 10, 1977. Hamida Djandoubi, a Tunisian immigrant convicted of murder, was beheaded.
On December 19, 2016, as in previous years, France co-sponsored and voted in favour of the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly.