[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
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.