French Lawyer Seeks Retrial In Landmark Touvier Ruling
THE lawyer for Nazi collaborator Paul Touvier yesterday demanded a new trial for his client for the murders of seven Jewish hostages during World War II.
Mr. Touvier, a high-ranking member of the pro-Nazi Vichy regime's militia, on Wednesday became the first Frenchman ever convicted of complicity of crimes against humanity.
Jacques Tremolet de Villers, the defense lawyer who contended that Touvier actually saved Jews from execution by having seven shot instead of the 30 the Germans wanted, appealed the conviction yesterday.
The lawyer filed formal papers asking that the judgment by the eight-man, one-woman jury be overturned and a new trial be held. His supporting arguments will be filed later.
Touvier's conviction marked a milestone in France's efforts to face up to the collaboration carried out by the French government in Vichy with the German occupiers from 1940-45.
The trial provided a detailed look at how Vichy's militia carried out deliberate roundups, executions, and deportations of Jews to death camps in line with German policies.
The conviction has spurred demands to bring Maurice Papon, head of the national police in Bordeaux during the war and a much bigger fish than Touvier, to trial for deporting several hundred Jews.
Touvier was intelligence chief of the Lyon militia and worked with Gestapo boss Klaus Barbie, the ``Butcher of Lyon,'' who died in a French prison after being convicted of crimes against humanity in 1987.
Touvier organized the execution of seven Jews in 1944 in retaliation for the assassination by Vichy's propaganda minister by the Resistance.
The court found that the executions were carried out on a racial basis to further Hitler's anti-Semitic policies, meeting the test of crimes against humanity set down by the post-war Nuremberg trials.
Touvier was arrested at a Roman Catholic priory in Nice in 1989. He had spent most of the previous 45 years on the run, sheltered by some church officials who saw him as a persecuted figure.