A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

France parliament amends constitution to ban death penalty, allow impeachment

[JURIST] The French parliament [official website, in French] voted Monday to amend the French Constitution [text] to include an explicit ban on the death penalty. In a special joint session of both the National Assembly and the Senate [official websites, in French] at the Palace of Versailles, the amendment [text, in French] passed with a vote of 828-26 [voting record]. While the death penalty [JURIST news archive] has been outlawed in France since 1981, Monday's vote officially revised the constitution to reflect this.

Also Monday, the joint session voted 449-203 [voting record] to approve a constitutional amendment [text, in French] guaranteeing the French president sovereign immunity while in office but also introducing the possibility of impeachment [IHT report]. The measure previously approved by the National Assembly [JURIST report] calls for US-style impeachment procedures to check the powers of France's presidency. Under the new provisions, the president can refuse to testify while in office; however, in case of a "neglect of his duties manifestly incompatible with the exercise of his mandate," a two-thirds majority of either house of parliament can authorize impeachment proceedings. The bill had languished in parliament after being approved by the French cabinet three years ago; it came forward as current President Jacques Chirac [official profile, in French; BBC profile] approached the end of his second term with a number of corruption cases [JURIST news archive] looming over him. The International Herald Tribune has more.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.