France A Verdict on the Butcher

After a final scuffle with history, Barbie is convicted

Throughout his eight-week trial on charges of crimes against humanity, Klaus Barbie, the Gestapo commander of Lyons during World War II, showed no sign of remorse and no great interest in defending himself. Except for three days at the beginning of the proceedings and two forced appearances in order to be identified by witnesses, Barbie exercised his right under French law to boycott the courtroom. The ailing Barbie, 73, seemed almost indifferent to the outcome of the trial. Instead of facing his accusers, he remained in his three-cell complex in St. Joseph prison.

But on the last day of his trial,...

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