15 March 2010

Justice The French Way

Now I think if a person looks guilty, acts guilty and smells guilty then they probably are guilty but of course in a contradictory sense and to counteract that view, I also believe in the due process of law, the trial, the evidence, the jury and the verdict. But in my adopted country (France), all of that seems to go out of the window.

Take the latest criminal/trial sensation. André Bamberski, 72, a retired accountant from Toulouse, whose daughter Kalinka was aged 14 years when she died under particularly mysterious circumstances, has been pursuing a German doctor (Dieter Krombach) who injected his daughter with a substance that was supposed to encourage a tan. Later, on trial in Germany for causing her death, Krombach changed his statement to say it was a remedy for anaemia. He was cleared.

Bamberski never for a moment believed that Krombach was innocent and for 27 years has waged a campaign to have him tried in France for murder but the Germans refused to hand him over and so Bamberski was resigned to publicizing his campaign against Krombach wherever and whenever he could.

Last year, Krombach was kidnapped in Germany by a Croatian who claimed he was acting on purely altruistic reasons. Krombach was beaten, transported in a car boot across Germany and then dumped in a small French town. Bamberski had been told that this was about to happen and to his credit, he contacted the police and flew there immediately to see the ‘perpetrator’, whom he’d been chasing for 27 years.

Now at this stage it’s fair to point out that in the 27 years since Kalinka’s death, several things happened:

Kalinka’s post mortem did not establish the cause of death

Rape was strongly suspected but never investigated

Krombach was tried in Germany for the murder but was acquitted

Despite the German verdict, France tried Krombach in his absence and found him guilty, sentencing him to 15 years for manslaughter

Krombach is convicted in a German court of injecting a 16 year old with a dubious substance and is banned from practicing medicine

Krombach is convicted of fraud for continuing to work as a doctor in Germany despite the previous ban

Nine French judges rule that Krombach must stand trial in France, even though he had been kidnapped in Bavaria, taken across the border and delivered, bound and gagged, to French police

Bamberski, now also on trial in France for kidnap, along with the Croat who actually abducted Krombach, denies that his obsession with the German doctor has anything to do with the fact that he has a passionate dislike of Germans that was forged in the war when he and his sister were taken by the Nazis from their parents in France in 1940 and kept in prisons and homes in Poland and Germany.

So, just another ‘murder’ trial in France with no body, no real evidence, no witnesses but a hidden, political agenda. However, I still think Krombach sounds guilty.

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