The journalist and documentary maker made “Robert Badinter, life above all” to see this Monday at 9:05 pm on France 3.

Forty years already (only 40 years one could also say) that France has abolished the death penalty, that will make precisely 40 years on September 18th. In his documentary Robert Badinter, life above all, the journalist and documentary maker Romain Icard uses this historic event to retrace the life and career of the former Minister of Justice. “His life and his political career are intimately linked and we know it, I think that without explaining the man it would be difficult to understand why he carried so high and so difficult this fight for the abolition of the sentence of death in France “, explains Monday, September 13 on franceinfo the director.

While we think we have already read, heard or seen a lot about Robert Badinter, the documentary reveals others not necessarily known, in this great modest, very secret. “I don’t claim to reveal great scoops but it’s true that we immersed ourselves in his life, I met him, I met his relatives, which ‘allowed to identify the character, he says. The man is intimate, he is secret he does not like to give himself up: he talks about his ideas but he does not talk about himself. “

A terrible event will haunt him and forge his conviction on what will remain his main political and social struggle. It is the arrest, on the orders of Klaus Barbie, of his father Simon in Lyon in 1943, rue Sainte-Catherine, under Robert’s eyes. He will then be deported and killed at the Sobibor extermination camp. “An injury which occurs in adolescence and which will not leave him, for Robert Badinter this is one of the building blocks which will continue him in his young career as a lawyer”, explains Romain Icard.

The starting point is the education that his parents give him, then this deep and irreparable wound.

What is also less well known is that before becoming a penalist, Robert Badinter worked for the cultural world and specialized in film, which he particularly liked. “At the start of his career he was an advocate for all of Paris, of the 7th art and of the press. He was not a penalist and therefore not intended to fight the death penalty in the French assizes. But at a given moment, his ethics, his morality, push him, when the national debate becomes more virulent in the 70s, to interfere in this debate and To take part in the fight. “

Another salient aspect that the documentary highlights is the way in which Robert Badinter is hated, castigated, even hated during emblematic trials (Roger Bontemps in 1972, Patrick Henry in 1977) where he fights capital punishment. His family will be threatened with death several times. “He is hated by part of the population, a bomb explodes on the landing of his building. It’s hard to imagine it because today everyone admires him, it was far from “To be the case at the time, affirms Romain Icard. I believe that it was his righteousness which was ultimately understood, even by his political detractors.”

He is a man of ideas and morals and he does not deviate from what he considers to be his ethics, and I believe that in the political world, that made him, At one time, a figure and today this figure is recognized and admired by all.

After having waited for long years, and endured the refusal or procrastination of successive heads of state, he finally obtained abolition on September 18, 1981, against at the time the feeling of the majority of French opinion. With an unexpected boost from François Mitterrand, guest of the “Cartes sur Table” program, who speaks out personally against the death penalty even though the question on the subject was not ready seen. “François Mitterrand knows that this is a divisive debate and that he has nothing to gain from it and yet he is going, he says it, and it is a media and political change.”