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A History of Political and Criminal Responsibility in France (1789-1958)

From 1789 to 1940 most French Constitutions included a special procedure
to deal with the criminal responsibility of ministers. But it is
often linked to their political responsibility and it is sometimes easy to
refer to the former in order to deal with the latter. This possible substitution
has not escaped the attention of political leaders. As early as
1792, there has been a tendency to get rid of “politically incorrect”
ministers by refering to alleged crimes or misdemeanors. The process
would be used repeatedly, in particular at the time of the trial of Malvy
and Caillaux under the Third Republic. But surprisingly when a minister
would commit real crimes, the members of Parliament would let him
be judged by criminal law courts rather than by the High Court whose
role it is to rule on crimes committed by members of the government.
The article presents 150 years of history of the criminal responsibility
of ministers and highlights its meanness, its injustice and its aberration.


Référence électonique : Daniel AMSON, "A History of Political and Criminal Responsibility in France (1789-1958)", Pouvoirs, revue française d’études constitutionnelles et politiques, n°92, 92 - La responsabilité des gouvernants, p.31-60 . Consulté le 2020-06-05 22:14:19 . URL : https://revue-pouvoirs.fr/A-History-of-Political-and.html