30 Years Later, the Trial of the Butcher of Lyon Still Informs My Sense of Justice as a Texas Judge

Thirty years ago, a French court convicted Nazi Klaus Barbie of crimes against humanity committed in France during World War II.On July 4, 1987, after an eight-week trial, Barbie, the former Nazi Gestapo chief of German-occupied Lyon, France, was found guilty of more than 300 counts of crimes against humanity. Like the Nuremberg trials, which were held before military tribunals shortly after World War II, the Barbie trial was a lesson of history and an exceptional act by the French of remembrance and justice.Sitting among the witnesses and victims in the Lyon courtroom, I witnessed the trial. As a federal prosecutor in New York City, who had prosecuted criminal cases and had assisted with an extradition of war criminals, I was keenly interested in observing one of the first major war crimes trials since the Nuremberg trials and, perhaps, I thought, one of the last of the World War II war crimes trials. To this day, as a judge and law professor, the trial informs my sense of justice and its importance in each case.   Continue reading...

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