The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, October 09, 1997, Image 10

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    The Battalion
Thursday • October 9,
Former French Cabinet ministeF
Papon tried for past war crime
BORDEAUX, France (AP) — France put its
wartime past on trial today in the case of a for
mer Cabinet minister accused of war crimes
during World War II and then protected by late
President Francois Mitterrand.
Maurice Papon, a police official under the
collaborationist Vichy regime, allegedly or
dered the arrests of hundreds of Jews later
killed in the Holocaust.
“Papon, Maurice, 87 years old, retired,” he
responded to Judge Jean-Louis Castagnede,
who formally opened the trial and called in
the accused.
Papon entered a silent courtroom remod
eled to accommodate the crush of Holocaust
victims, their families, reporters and others.
He sat behind bulletproof glass as part of
tight security surrounding the trial.
His lawyer, Jean-Marc Varaut, pleaded for
him to be freed during the trial, a move civil
parties opposed.
“Detention may prove fatal,” Varaut argued.
“It would be detrimental to the client’s psycho
logical and physical health to be held in prison,
where he was greeted both inside and outside
with shouts of‘Death!’”
The proceedings were suspended after two
hours to deal with the request.
The judge appointed a panel of independent
medical experts to examine Papon and to decide
whether detention would be harmful. It wasn’t
known when the proceedings would resume.
The trial should shed light on how French
officials helped send thousands of Jews to Nazi
death camps in World War II.
The proceedings at the Palais de Justice are
expected to last three months and will include
“It would be detrimental to the
client’s (Papon) psychological and
physical health to be held in prison,
where he was greeted both inside and
outside with shouts of ‘Death!’”
testimony from 140 witnesses.
Papon is a former police supervisor in the
Bordeaux region and the highest-ranking Vichy
official to stand trial in the persecution and de
portation of Jews. He surrendered to police
Tuesday evening.
A former budget minister under conserva
tive President Valery Giscard d’Estaing, Papon
is charged with complicity in crimes against
humanity for allegedly signing arrest orders
that led to the deportation of 1,690 Jews.
In all, France deported about 7{jj|
Jews, including 12,000 children, to
death camps during World War II;
about 2,500 survived.
Before the trial opened today, victtir
their families staged morning demon'
tions, one at the site of a formers
camp for deportees and another ataj
deaux synagogue.
At the transit site in the suburb of Merif
Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld joined withfc
groups in reading the names and agesofsi
al dozen Jewish infants and children allei
deported on Papon's orders. They alsoi
prayers for the dead.
At the gathering was Therese Stopnicki\
as a 6-year-old escaped the police rouii]
that captured her two sisters, ages 2 and5.i
died at Auschwitz.
“I’ve been having nightmares for
weeks,” she said. “Thinking I’ll be goingii
courtroom and breathing the sameairas^
man makes me nauseated.”
A poll published today indicated asp
French feelings about the trial, with57pe r
interested but 42 percent expressing little
interest, the daily Le Parisien said.
Still, 62 percent felt the trial was moreiffl
that of Papon: it was a way of judging“tlif t j
of the French government in the deportati j
Jews under the Vichy regime.”
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BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (If M Heimu
Serbia’s recent presidentialtsaid he gr
tions produced no clear wircHgan pla
forcing election officials Weii because o
day to call for another vote. 1 “i wa t c
An extreme nationalist cajj^ig pjgy
date edged Slobodan Milose*j s t j ie m
neo-communist candidateinfe| sU()l .|
weekend race, but turnout WcG. . .
low a rerun must be held, fine 111
suits confirmed Wednesday.
VojislavSeselj, whose paramifta]
troops fought in support of te|
Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia, v
percent of the votes Sunday. Ztj
Lilic, backed by Yugoslav presi
Milosevic, won 47.9 percent. Thf
were invalid votes.
New elections must bel
within two months because
48.9 percent of the electorate
turned out was short ofthefc
mum of just over 50 percentne
ed to make the results count
Unlike Sunday’s election, h:
was a runoff between thetwor
who did best in the first roundo:'
ing Sept. 21, the rerun will be ope:
other candidates as well. If the'
ner does not get more than 50;
cent of the vote, a ninoffvvillbe
It was the first major defeat
fered by Milosevic’s Socialist;
ty, which won the first multi-?
ty voting in more than
decades in 1990 and allsuf
quent major elections
Seselj espouses a national
even more extreme than that
vocated by Milosevic when thf
goslav war erupted in 1991.Sf-
who leads the ultranationalistK
ical Party, still advocates a grt
Serbia that would incorpo:
parts of Croatia and Bosnia.
In separate elections Sunda;
the presidency in Montenegt'
the other republic that make:
Yugoslavia — Milosevic's
Momir Bulatovic narrowlydef
ed pro-Western challenger'
Djukanovic, according to
complete results.
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