From October 1997 to April 1998, Maurice Papon (1910-2007), former secretary general of the prefecture of Gironde under the Occupation, was tried in Bordeaux and sentenced to ten years in prison for complicity in crimes against Humanity.

Until then, only two trials for crimes against humanity had been held in France: against the gestapist Barbie in 1987 and the militiaman Touvier in 1994, both sentenced to life imprisonment. With Papon, a great state clerk and minister under Giscard d’Estaing, it is an unusual accused who finds himself on the bench of infamy. Challenged in 1981 by Le Canard enchaîné for his role in the deportation of the Jews from Bordeaux, the former minister was finally sent back to the assize court almost sixteen years after the first complaints were filed…

First trial, and forever the only one, of a Vichy official for crimes against humanity, the Papon trial is also, symbolically, the last process of purification.

Of this extraordinary trial, Riss, special envoy of Charlie Hebdo in Bordeaux, gave one of the few complete reports (journalists having followed, like him, all the hearings are counted on the fingers of the hand), and the only one that is illustrated.

The strength of these sketches – more than 600 original plates, of which about sixty are exhibited here – is first the look of their author, the eye of the cartoonist who knows how to capture the strength and emotion of such a deposition, the ridicule of such a character witness or the comedy played by the accused throughout the debates.

Without exception, Riss is not interested in the side effects of the trial, the unhealthy climate that may have surrounded him. We’re locked up with him in the courtroom, and always on the side of the victims.


Discover the part


Discover the part

The documentary film "The Papon Trial"

The documentary film The Papon Trial, allows visitors to see excerpts from the audiovisual archives of Justice recorded during this 380-hour trial, immersing them in the heart of the judicial debates.

This film was designed for the exhibition Filmer les procès, un enjeu social, presented at the Archives nationales de France from October 2020 to December 2021, curated by Martine Sin Blima-Barru, curator of heritage, head of the data administration department of the National Archives and Christian Delage, professor at the University Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis, former director of the Institute for the History of Present Time.