Nov. 29, 2018


At a ceremony in Geneva hosted by the Swiss Friends of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi praised Badinter as a “beacon of light"​


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 Above: Prof. Robert Badinter (center) with BGU President, Prof. Rivka Carmi and BGU's Vice-President for External Affairs, Prof. Steve Rosen.


Ben-Gurion University of the Negev honored Robert Badinter, a French lawyer and politician, with an honorary doctorate on Wednesday, in recognition of his decades-long efforts on behalf of human rights, civil rights and to assist the transition to democracy in Eastern Europe following the breakup of the Soviet Union.

At a ceremony in Geneva hosted by the Swiss Friends of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, BGU President Prof. Rivka Carmi praised Badinter as a “beacon of light" who has worked tirelessly to keep the issue of human rights on the international agenda.

“The name of Robert Badinter will go down in history and his outstanding accomplishments remembered long after we are all gone," Prof. Carmi said. “His steadfast dedication to human rights and to advancing the rule of law single him out as a man of great wisdom, of compassion, of bravery, of love and of vision.  

“He reminds us not to take for granted precious rights which many people are still denied, and the world is a better place thanks to his efforts," Carmi said.


Badinter is best known for having championed the abolition of the death penalty in France in 1981. He was born in 1928 to a Bessarabian Jewish family that had immigrated to France in 1912. After receiving his bachelor's degree from the Sorbonne in 1947 and law degree from the Paris School of Law the following year, he was appointed Professor of Law in 1966. At the same time, he co-founded the law firm Badinter, Bredin et partenaires, where acted as defense lawyer in several high-profile death penalty causes in France, eventually serving as Minister of Justice from 1981–1986 under President François Mitterrand .

Prof. Badinter is the author of several legal and historical books, including:

  • Condorcet, an intellectual in politics (in collaboration with Elisabeth Badinter)
  • Free and equals, the emancipation of the Jews (1789-1791)
  • Ordinary antisemitism: Vichy and the Jewish lawyers (1940-1944)
  • The Republican prison (1873-1914)
  • Idiss, a biography of his grandmother, who died in 1942 during the Nazi occupation of Paris.