[QODLink]
Europe
Former French president faces trial
Jacques Chirac, who faces corruption charges, is the first former head of state to stand trial since World War II.
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2011 06:21 GMT

After years of claiming immunity to avoid legal proceedings, Jacques Chirac, the former president of France, is finally facing a court.

The 78-year-old statesman faces a month in court on charges that he masterminded a scheme to have Paris City Hall pay for work that benefited his political party when he was mayor - before he became president in 1995.

Chirac is the first former head of state to go on trial since the country's Nazi-era leader was exiled.

A prison term is seen as highly unlikely, but in principle if convicted, Chirac could be jailed for up to 10 years and fined $210,000.

France's restive political circles are gearing up for next year's presidential race, but the fallout from this trial is unlikely to hit anyone other than Chirac and the nine other defendants including a grandson of General Charles de Gaulle and a former left-wing labor union leader.

Still, the trial looms as an embarrassing coda to Chirac's 12-year presidential term, potentially denting his legacy, recent philanthropic work and image as one of France's most popular personalities since he left office.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The conservative UMP party suffers from crippling internal divisions and extreme debt from mismanagement.
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
join our mailing list