Abolition, the English edition

Although it might sound bombastic, Robert Badinter could well be the greatest living French man and is certainly an international human rights icon for his tireless crusade against the death penalty.

A lawyer, politician, and statesman, Badinter's is best know for abolishing the death penalty in France. He became a devoted abolitionist after one of his clients was unjustly guillotined in 1972. Over the next decade, Badinter fought the death penalty both in the courts – he saved six men from the guillotine - and in the political arena. After the election of François Mitterrand in 1981, he was named Minister of Justice and wrote the legislation that abolished the death penalty. He was later appointed president of France’s Constitutional Council and is currently a member of the French Senate. Internationally, he has advised on the constitutions of evolving democracies in Eastern Europe, participated in major trials such as that as former Pakistani president Ali Bhutto, and was a founder of the World Congress Against the Death Penalty.

Kilometer Zero is pleased to note the English release of Badinter's masterwork, Abolition. The book recounts his legal and political battle to end the death penalty in France, and serves as a guidebook on the various legal and political strategies that can be used in the quest for abolition. The book won the prix Femina - essai when it was released in France in 2000 and has since been translated into several languages. The American edition is being published by Northeastern University Press with a preface by Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch. The translation was done by KMZ alumnus Jeremy Mercer.

Badinter and Mercer visited New York City and Washington D.C. in September 2008 to mark the release of the book. You can listen to Badinter's conversation with Neal Katyal about the death penalty, hosted by the New York Public Library, here: http://media.nypl.org/live/badinter_katyal_9_19_08.mp3

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