It is an understatement to say that the latest cabinet reshuffle has unprecedented significance. This is evidenced by the forum signed by 91 intellectuals from 35 different countries, including two Nobel Prize winners (The world July 15). For a long time, France has defended a demanding vision of women’s rights on the international scene. As Paris presented its candidacy for the United Nations Human Rights Council in February, the appointment of the Minister of the Interior has become an issue that could undermine essential diplomacy.
This loss of credibility is worrying when the health and economic crisis brings with it a wide-ranging questioning of women’s rights in very many states, resounding Simone de Beauvoir’s warning: “ Never forget that it will only take a political, economic or religious crisis for the rights of women to be called into question. “ In this context, the voice of France is necessary. It must be strong and confident, to uphold the primacy of human rights and their universal character.
The fact remains that our leaders are legally entitled to recall the right of everyone to the presumption of innocence. It is a fundamental right, constitutionally guaranteed, protected by international human rights conventions. The presumption of innocence acts as a screen as long as judicial truth has not definitively condemned the accused person.
Equality of arms
That other ministers, implicated, not in a criminal case, but for offenses, had to resign, in the name of a certain idea of exemplarity, is political, not legal. But since the defense of the Minister of the Interior is organized, not on a political ground, but on that of the most fundamental human rights, it is important to dwell on this for a moment.
From a human rights perspective, it is not Gérald Darmanin’s retention in government that should be debated, since he is presumed innocent. This is his appointment to the Home Office. Let us remember the Jérôme Cahuzac sequence. Minister in charge of the budget, it was his job to fight tax fraud.
Here, the appointment of Gérald Darmanin to the interior goes beyond the sole issue of preventing conflicts of interest. It is likely to call into question a much more fundamental principle, that of the right of civil parties to a fair trial. Just as much as the presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial is a basic principle of the rule of law, enshrined in international human rights conventions.
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