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Monday, 19 December 2022
Jean-Olivier Viout, born on 7 November 1946 in Chambéry, is a French magistrate.
Nurturing a passion for history since childhood, Jean-Olivier became a guide lecturer for the city of Chambéry from the age of 18 until 1971.
In 1970, in parallel with his duties as a guide, he applied to the French National School for the Judiciary (ENM), where he was accepted. Three years later, he was appointed Substitute State Prosecutor in Annecy. In December 1979, Jean-Olivier Viout became the State Prosecutor of the Albertville District High Court.
Eight years later, Jean-Olivier Viout took the Assistant State Prosecutor’s seat, alongside General Attorney Pierre Truche, to bring Klaus Barbie to court. Klaus Barbie was tried on 11 May 1987 for the murder of Jean Moulin and was accused of being responsible for the deportation of thousands of Jews in France. As this was the first time crimes against humanity were tried in France, the court examination aroused tremendous media interest.
With nearly 106 witnesses, 40 lawyers, six weeks of hearings, 900 journalists and 145 hours of recorded debates, these extensive proceedings represented a turning point in French society as they publicly pointed out the reality of the Shoah.
At the end of the trial, Klaus Barbie was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. France’s ministers finally opened the file to the public on 30 June 2017, employing a decree.
Come listen to a historical witness talk about the first trial in France for crimes against humanity.