Le Pen faces probe over Nazi occupation remark

13th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

13 January 2005 , PARIS - Paris' public prosecutor said on Thursday he will open a criminal investigation into statements by right-wing radical leader Jean-Marie Le Pen that the Nazi occupation of France was "not particularly inhumane". A judicial source said that the preliminary investigation would look into whether his declarations constituted an apology for war crimes or the act of disputing crimes against humanity. On Wednesday, after the daily Le Monde published extracts of an interview Le Pen gave an

13 January 2005

PARIS - Paris' public prosecutor said on Thursday he will open a criminal investigation into statements by right-wing radical leader Jean-Marie Le Pen that the Nazi occupation of France was "not particularly inhumane".

A judicial source said that the preliminary investigation would look into whether his declarations constituted an apology for war crimes or the act of disputing crimes against humanity.

On Wednesday, after the daily Le Monde published extracts of an interview Le Pen gave an extreme right-wing publication, Justice Minister Dominique Perben asked the Paris public prosecutor to open an inquiry.

Le Pen, the losing candidate in the 2002 presidential election run-off, told the magazine Rivarol that "the Nazi occupation (of France) was not particularly inhumane".

He also said that the reports of Nazi massacres in France were exaggerated.

"If the Germans had committed so many massive executions in every corner of the land as the man in the street says then there would not have been any need for concentration camps for political deportees," Le Pen said.

He added that there remained "much to be said" about the 10 June 1944, massacre by German soldiers of the 642 civilian inhabitants of the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, a French symbol of the Nazi occupation.

Asked on Thursday if Le Pen,s statements could be considered a crime, Perben told Europe 1 radio, "He will have to answer for them in a courtroom."

The statements have unleashed such furious condemnation among French politicians and human rights groups that Le Pen on Thursday claimed to have been misrepresented by Le Monde, the first daily to report on his statements.

He told RTL radio that he would sue the newspaper for slander.

Le Pen, who has in the past questioned the existence of Nazi death camps, received nearly 20 percent of the vote in 2002. 

DPA

Subject: German news 

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