Why Macron must bear responsibility as his justice minister faces trial for conflict of interest

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For the first time in French political and legal history, a serving justice minister has been sent for trial before the Cour de Justice de la République. Éric Dupond-Moretti will appear before the CJR – the special court that deals with the alleged offences of ministers while in office – accused of an unlawful conflict of interest. He is said to have put pressure on anti-corruption prosecutors and a judge. However, argues Fabrice Arfi in this op-ed article, President Emmanuel Macron must also accept a major share of the responsibility for the affair. It was the head of state who appointed the former high-profile and outspoken lawyer to the post - and who then chose to keep him in office after the allegations first broke.

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Six days after sending someone who has been convicted twice, for “corruption” and “illicit campaign funding”, to represent France abroad, President Emmanuel Macron has now seen his justice minister sent for trial over an alleged breach of public probity while in office. It is an unprecedented move in French political and legal history.