France Amends Constitution to Ban the Death Penalty

The French parliament voted to amend the country's Constitution to include an explicit ban on the death penalty. In a special joint session held at the Palace of Versailles (pictured), France's National Assembly and Senate passed the amendment by a vote of 828-26. The death penalty has been outlawed in France since 1981, but the recently passed amendment officially inscribes the prohibition into the constitution.  "We are accomplishing the wish of Victor Hugo in 1848, the pure, simple, irreversible abolition" of the death penalty, former Justice Minister Robert Badinter told lawmakers.

(International Herald Tribune, February 19, 2007, and Jurist Legal News and Research, February 20, 2007). See International Death Penalty.