After Bettencourt – why France's justice system urgently needs reform


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The Bettencourt affair, one of the greatest political-financial scandals of France’s Fifth Republic, is thus reduced to nothing more than just another human interest story: the tale of an old lady fleeced by several smart conmen. Illegal financing of politics; the handing out of sinecures and honours; pressure on the justice system; political scandal: the judges have come along with their red pens and none of that now remains. The double acquittal of Éric Woerth on Thursday May 28th – despite some harsh judicial comments in the judgement – just like the case being dropped against Nicolas Sarkozy in the same affair in 2013 – once again amid some tough judicial language - shows us once again that the justice system in France is in the same state as our democracy. In other words, it is suffering from a deep malaise.