By order published on 28 March 2022, the Ministers of Justice and Culture granted early access to the archives of the trials of Maurice Papon, convicted in 1998 of complicity in crimes against humanity for his role in the deportation of Jews between 1942 and 1944.
For this type of document "relating to cases brought before the courts", the Heritage Code normally provides for a period of 75 years from the date of the most recent document or document included in the file, or a period of 25 years from the date of death of the person concerned if the latter period is shorter.
Ten years before the normal opening date, the public records relating to the trials involving Maurice Papon can now be freely disclosed.
This opening is part of a series of decrees that, between 1998 and 2015, allowed progressive access to public archives relating to the Second World War.
Drawn up between 1983, the date of the first indictment of Maurice Papon, and 2004, the date on which his appeal was rejected by the Court of Cassation, the files covered by this opening cover the entire judicial procedure. Their communication, henceforth permitted to anyone who requests it, will allow to progress in the knowledge of this trial as resounding as emblematic, and to promote ever more the work of memory and truth. The trials of war criminals in the 1990s did not benefit from this movement of openness until the decision, taken by order of 30 June 2017, to open the archives of the trial of Klaus Barbie.
This new decision further fosters access to archival sources from the Second World War, with the aim of contributing tirelessly to the fight against revisionism and forgetfulness.