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Wladyslaw Sobanski v. George Boudarel

This case summary is being revised and will be updated soon

Court Cour de Cassation, Chambre Criminelle / Court of Cassation, Criminal Division, France
Case number 98-85902
Decision title Arrêt
Decision date 7 September 1999
  • Wladyslaw Sobanski
  • George Boudarel
Categories Crimes against humanity
Keywords amnesties, crimes against humanity, other inhumane acts, torture, Vietnam (Indochina)
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Procedural history

On 1 April 1993, the Cour de cassation (the highest French judicial authority) ruled the proceedings could not occur as that the acts upon which the complaint was founded were covered by the 1966 amnesty law on crimes committed during the Vietnamese uprising. Among other things, the Cour de cassation ruled a national law of amnesty on crimes against humanity was not in contradiction with the fact that this type of crimes could not be subject to time limitations in French law.

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Legally relevant facts

During the French Indo-China war (1946 – 1954), George Boudarel, former teacher in the French Cochinchine, deserted to join the Vien Minh in northern Tonkin. He became a “political commissioner” in charge of the “reeducation” of the French prisoners of war in Camp 113. In 1966, thanks to an amnesty law on crimes committed during the Indo-China war, he came back to France where he started teaching at University of Paris VII. In 1991, a former prisoner of war in Camp 113 identified him during a conference on modern Asia. Proceedings were later introduced against him for crimes against humanity.