The Paris Court of Appeal on Thursday confirmed that far-right pundit Éric Zemmour did not deny the Holocaust when he said French war-time leader Philippe Pétain “saved” the Jews despite this being contradicted by well-documented historical evidence.
Zemmour made the comments on 14 October 2019 during a TV debate on CNEWS.
The Court of Appeal confirmed the first-instance court’s judgment of February 2021 that acquitted him. According to the lower court, Zemmour’s remarks had been made “out of the blue during a debate on the war in Syria” but recognised that they were a “denial of [Pétain’s] participation in the policy of extermination of the Jews carried out by the Nazi regime.”
As the Court of Appeal, the first-instance court did not see this amounting to “negating a crime against humanity”.
Zemmour reacted on Twitter by saying that “those who call him a Petainist are morally, historically and now legally wrong.” He also launched his election campaign for the legislative elections on Thursday evening (12 May) and will be a candidate in the South of France.
The far-right pundit has been accused of provoking hatred, racial slurs and denying crimes against humanity in the past and was convicted twice in 2010 and 2016. However, the judgment on appeal on charges of “provocation to hatred and violence” and “public insults against a group of people because of their origin” are still pending.