published : 2023-11-30

France's Justice Minister Cleared of Conflict of Interest in Unprecedented Trial

Legal proceedings mark the first instance of a current government minister being put on trial in France

An image of Eric Dupond-Moretti, France's justice minister, confidently addressing the media after being cleared of conflict of interest in an unprecedented trial. [Taken with Canon EOS R5]

Eric Dupond-Moretti, France's justice minister, has been cleared of conflict of interest in an unprecedented trial, where he was accused of using his office to settle personal scores.

This trial marks the first time in France that a government minister has been put on trial while still in office for actions taken as a minister.

Dupond-Moretti, a high-profile lawyer before entering government, had been accused of ordering probes targeting magistrates who investigated him, his friends, and his former clients.

The trial took place in a special court for government ministers, with three professional magistrates and twelve members of parliament hearing the case.

A photo capturing the intense courtroom atmosphere as Dupond-Moretti's defense lawyer passionately argues his case before the special court for government ministers. [Taken with Nikon D850]

A majority of eight votes was required to decide on the question of guilt.

Despite facing the trial, Dupond-Moretti denied any wrongdoing and refused to resign, breaking the unwritten rule that members of government should quit when put under investigation.

The court's verdict is seen as a political victory for Dupond-Moretti and his allies.

Speaking after the trial, he expressed his relief and stated that he wants to turn the page and resume his work as the justice minister.

A close-up shot of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne expressing her happiness and support for Dupond-Moretti, highlighting the political victory achieved. [Taken with Sony A7 III]

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne also expressed her happiness at Dupond-Moretti staying in his role, emphasizing that he can continue his work as part of the government team.

While some believe that the verdict represents imperfect justice, others see it as a triumph of law and justice, with defense lawyers expressing satisfaction and emotions.

However, concerns have been raised about the special court for government ministers, seen by some as a form of political justice that goes against the principle of equality before the law.

Anti-corruption groups call for reinforced ethical vigilance, particularly when newly appointed government members are taking their first steps.