May 17, 2011 in News
French Shocked by I.M.F. Chief’s ‘Perp Walk’ (New York Times):
Though horrified by those alleged crimes, the French press and political elite on Monday seemed perhaps more scandalized still by the images of Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s brusque treatment by the New York police, and his exposure in the American media.
“I found that image to be incredibly brutal, violent and cruel,” the former justice minister Elisabeth Guigou told France-Info radio on Monday, referring to widely published photographs of a beleaguered-looking Mr. Strauss-Kahn, handcuffed and led by several New York police officers. “I am happy that we do not have the same judicial system.”
As justice minister, Ms. Guigou, now a parliamentarian, oversaw the passage of a law prohibiting the publication of photographs of handcuffed criminal suspects.
“I don’t see what the publication of images of this type adds,” she said.
Speaking to the same broadcaster, Eva Joly, a well-known French magistrate who once brought charges against Mr. Strauss-Kahn for corruption (of which he was later acquitted), agreed that “these are very violent images.” Ms. Joly, who is now a leader of the French Green Party expected to run in next year’s presidential election, added that the American justice system “doesn’t distinguish between the director of the I.M.F. and any other suspect.”
Ms. Joly also suggested that the ‘perp walk’ images of Mr. Strauss-Kahn in handcuffs were a product of a justice system quote unlike the French one, because American prosecutors always needs to think about convincing a jury of a suspect’s guilt. At present, there is no jury in many French courtrooms, although French President Nicolas Sarkozy has proposed changes that would make juries more common.
‘Upset’ eurozone chief blasts talk of IMF successor (AFP):
Jean-Claude Juncker, the Luxembourg prime minister heading the eurozone, said he was “sad and upset” Monday by his friend Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s court appearance — and angered by those already seeking a successor.
“He’s a good friend of mine, I didn’t like the pictures I saw on TV this morning,” Juncker told a news conference in Brussels after talks between 27 European finance ministers hours after the IMF chief was denied bail by a US judge.
“Mr. Strauss-Kahn is in the hands of American justice. It’s not up to us to comment on this but it makes me deeply, deeply sad.”
Juncker, who worked with Strauss-Kahn in flying to the rescue of debt-hit euro nations over the last year, also said it was “indecent” that some European governments had already raised the question of who should take his place.
“It is indecent to see certain governments raising this question,” Juncker said.
“Until Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigns, I will refuse to reply to this,” he said at a news conference when asked who should step into the Frenchman’s shoes.
In France, allies watch in disbelief at his dishonour (Independent.co.uk):
Friends of Dominique Strauss-Kahn in France were stunned yesterday by the New York judge’s decision to place the IMF chief in jail pending trial. “This is very, very severe,” said the former Europe minister, Pierre Moscovici, one of “DSK’s” closest allies in the French Socialist party.
“So far we haven’t heard his side of the story. I’m waiting to hear it with a certain disbelief, because I have known him for 30 years, and I’ve never considered him to be a violent man. So I’m waiting for him to talk, I want him to talk,” Mr Moscovici said in a television interview.
French politicians on all sides reacted with similar horror to the photographs of the IMF chief execuitive and former French finance minister in hand-cuffs in New York. Such images are never published in France.
Manuel Valls, a Socialist politician and Strauss-Kahn loyalist, said the images were “an unbearable cruelty … Political life in France, will now be remembered as being before and after this moment.”
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