The French Minister of Justice on Tuesday (27 September) responded to the recent scandals of proven or alleged domestic violence that have shaken the French left, warning against the drift towards handling such matters out of court.
Read the original French article here.
The French left has recently become embroiled in a series of scandals regarding domestic physical and emotional abuse by some of its members.
After Jean Luc Mélenchon’s La France Insoumise Deputy Adrien Quantennens was asked to temporarily step back after he admitted to slapping his ex-wife, Julien Bayou resigned from his post as national secretary of the Greens on Monday (26 September) after his party colleague, Sandrine Rousseau, revealed in a live broadcast that he had emotionally abused his ex-partner.
In a live statement on broadcaster France 5 on 19 September, Rousseau alleged that Bayou’s ex-partner attempted to commit suicide after her breakup with Bayou.
After first stepping aside, Bayou then resigned, denouncing an “unbearable situation and the deleterious context [which] seems to prevent any kind of discernment, at a time when society is tipping over and looking for a point of balance for this much-needed feminist revolution.”
Bayou is “presumed guilty of accusations made public of which he knows nothing,” his lawyer, Marie Dosé, told the press on Monday, adding that these accusations have not been made in the form of complaints and that there are no legal proceedings against him.
Dosé denounced “an instrumentalisation of the fight” to free women’s voices for political purposes, referring in particular to the Green party congress which is to take place at the end of the year. Through his lawyer, Bayou called on his party not to give in to “suspicion or intimidation and even less to the instrumentalisation of suffering.”
At a press conference on the justice budget on Tuesday, Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti was asked about the scandals faced by the French left.
The minister, a criminal lawyer before joining the government, warned against the emergence of a “private justice […] that is deadly and harmful to our institutions and in particular to the judiciary.”
“Some people are being devoured by a monster they helped create,” he said, pointing to the left not ‘walking the talk’ since, like in the case of Damien Abad, they had called for his resignation before the courts ruled on the case – resulting in him only briefly serving as solidarity minister in the government of Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne.
Violence against women
In the run-up to the parliamentary elections in June, Mélenchon said in May that he wanted to make the fight against violence toward women a priority.
“We believe in the word of women first,” he said at the time, acknowledging that this might seem “arbitrary, but a choice has to be made.”
But as journalists and members of other parties have pointed out, it does not seem that Mélenchon wants to apply such standards to those close to him.
In the case of Quantennens, Mélenchon ruled out the idea that he should resign after the press made his slap admission public. He remains on the bench until further notice.
Renaissance MP Paul Midy – one of the former bosses of La République en Marche (LREM) – recently questioned the fact that members of Mélenchon’s party “are very tough on others and very soft on themselves.”
During the press conference, Dupond-Moretti also questioned how the left handles accusations of sexist and sexual violence – physical or psychological – levelled at their own members.
“For democracy, it is extremely dangerous. Justice is our social pact and cannot be deviated from in any way and by anyone, least of all by politicians,” the minister also said.
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[Edited by Daniel Eck/Nathalie Weatherald]