“When a nation has been forced to resort to the right of insurrection it returns to a state of nature as regards its tyrant. How can the latter invoke the social compact? He has annihilated it. The nation can preserve it still, if it thinks fit, in whatever concerns the interrelations of its citizens: but the effect of tyranny and insurrection is to break it entirely as regards the tyrant; it is to throw them into mutual war; the tribunals, the judiciary procedures, are made for the members of the city. … The right to punish the tyrant and that to dethrone him are the same thing. The one does not admit of different forms from the other. The tyrant’s trial is insurrection; his judgment is the fall of his power; his penalty, whatever the liberty of the people demands.
Peoples do not judge like judiciary courts. They pass no sentences; they hurl the thunderbolt. They do not condemn kings: they thrust them back into oblivion; and this justice is not inferior to that of courts. If they arm themselves against their oppressors for their own safety, why should they be bound to adopt a mode of punishing them which would be a new danger to themselves?
As for me, I abhor the penalty of death so lavish in your laws, and I have neither love nor hatred for Louis. Crimes only I hate. I have asked the Assembly, which you still call Constituent, for the abolition of the death penalty, and it is not my fault if the first principles of reason seem to it moral and political heresies. But if you never bethought yourselves to invoke them in favor of so many unfortunates whose offenses are less their own than those of the government, by what fatality do you remember them only to plead the cause of the greatest of all criminals? You ask an exception to the death penalty for him alone against whom it can be legitimate! Yes, the penalty of death generally is a crime, and for that reason alone, according to the indestructible principles of nature, it can be justified only in cases when it is necessary for the safety of individuals or the social body. Public safety never demands it against ordinary offenses, because society can always guard against them by other means and make the offender powerless to harm it. But a dethroned king in the bosom of a revolution which is anything but cemented by laws, a king whose name suffices to draw the scourge of war on the agitated nation, neither prison nor exile can render his existence immaterial to the public welfare: and this cruel exception to ordinary laws which justice approves can be imputed only to the nature of his crimes.
It is with regret that I utter this fatal truth. But Louis must die, because the country must live.” –ROBESPIERRE
I have nothing to add to the brilliant logic and persuasive reasoning given by Robespierre, when the question came up for the execution of LOUIS XVI, the deposed King of France.
Robespierre stood against capital punishment, but when it was his turn to give his opinion on the sentence of death for the tyrant, he stood up and distinguished his general opinion on CAPITAL PUNISHMENT.
We are in TERRIBLE TIMES. Mumbai is being taken over by terrorists, who deserve NO SYMPATHY. The TERRORISTS stand in the shoes of the TYRANT mentioned in Robespierre’s speech. The time has come for our justice system to be altered vis-a-vis the terrorists on similar lines of REASONING, so audaciously spoken by Robespierre.
LET US RISE AS A NATION AND HAVE NO COMPUNCTION IN COMMITTING THE TERRORISTS TO SUMMARY TRIALS WITH CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, WITH NO RIGHTS WHATSOEVER TO PRESENT THEIR SIDE, AND DECIDE THE TRIALS EXPEDITIOUSLY BASED ON EVIDENCE PRODUCED BY THE PROSECUTION, SO THAT FAITH IS RESTORED IN OUR SYSTEM, BESIDES HAVING THE MINIMUM DETERRENCE.