France’s top court decides brain-damaged Vincent Lambert must die
At the end of a whirlwind procedure, it published its arrest of cassation at 5 p.m. Friday in Paris, agreeing with the French state that the administration had in no way violated the tetraplegic, brain-damaged young man’s rights by a form of legal “assault” in refusing to sustain his life regardless of provisional measures demanded by the UN Committee for the Protection of Disabled Persons (CDPH).
The stopping of his food and hydration can “resume” immediately, according to the mainstream media.
Bishop Xavier Malle of Gap and Embrun in the south of France immediately published a tweet recalling that “hydration is not a disproportionate treatment but an elementary right of man.” He also spoke of his “great sadness.” “Are we once again going to witness an almost live death?”
The Court of Cassation’s role is to judge not the facts but the proper application of the law. In its most solemn configuration comprising 19 presidents of chambers, it has handed down a decision which, in practice, constitutes a death sentence.
It is also a highly political decision. The Court was faced with a demand intent on making it justify all the actions of the government, the health administration and a hospital whose agents are civil servants, in order to make Lambert die of thirst, because human life must not be considered sacred in France.
Is this the decision of last resort, the real endpoint of this case, as Rachel Lambert's lawyer, Patrice Spinosi, told the press? How soberly he talked to the press, expressing himself with utmost seriousness on behalf of Vincent's wife, who also exercises guardianship over him.
There were no cries of victory, as when Jean Paillot and Jérôme Triomphe learned Vincent’s life had been saved on May 20. But his satisfaction was obvious.
This decision is, however, not the end point of this case, for two reasons.
First of all, there is still a glimmer of hope at the time of this writing, and it stems from the wording of the arrest of the Court of Cassation. As Triomphe pointed out, the supreme judges did not rule on France's duty to respect the provisional measures requested by the UN Committee for the Respect of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) from France, which was asked to refrain from taking any irreversible action until the CRPD has been able to examine the case.
However, there is nothing more irreversible than death, and France as a signatory to the optional protocol by which it undertook to respect the decisions of the said committee, would violate its own international commitments by ignoring them.
That battle is not over, and Viviane Lambert, Vincent’s mother, will have the opportunity to speak at the 41st ordinary session of the UN commission on human rights to plead for her son’s life on Monday, July 1. She will be accompanied by her lawyers, who will give a press conference to diplomats and accredited journalists at the UN.
By law, Dr. Vincent Sanchez of Reims University Hospital should therefore respect these provision measures that remain standing and on which the Court of Cassation has not ruled.
The second reason is that even if Vincent Lambert were to die of thirst – while France is smoldering in a heat wave and vulnerable persons are being encouraged to drink – after being subjected to deep and legally irreversible sedation, the Lamberts’ lawyers will demand accountability, in particular on the basis of the CRPD's decision.
“If the government were to go against this request, we would immediately initiate criminal proceedings against the ministers concerned. If Dr. Sanchez makes to restart the death process, we will sue him as civil parties for the premeditated murder of a vulnerable person,” Triomphe warned at a press briefing at the Paris Palace of Justice on Friday evening, minutes after the decision of cassation without remand was made public.
A word about that. The whole Vincent Lambert affair was marked by the constant disdain of a certain political, medical and judicial class for the members and friends of Vincent's family who wanted him to be treated according to his needs as a disabled and severely brain-damaged person. The first attempt to kill Lambert by stopping feeding and almost stopping hydration in April 2013 was thus made without his parents being informed. They would only discover the fact after two weeks and complained that he be fed again 31 days after the procedure began.
Medical experts have commented on the fact that a severely handicapped and brain-damaged person who wants to die – as the supporters of Lambert’s supposed desire not to live as he is now – cannot survive for such a long time in those conditions if he does not have a strong will to live.
On May 20, after the appeals before the Council of State and the European Court of Human Rights failed and despite the CRPD's request for interim measures, Sanchez, the head of the gerontology and palliative care department at the Reims hospital, once again refrained from informing Vincent Lambert's parents before subjecting him to deep sedation in the early morning and pulling his feeding tube.
These lethal proceedings were interrupted that same evening by the miracle decision of the Court of Appeal condemning the “assault.”
Deep sedation, by the way, is a requirement of the Leonetti-Claeys Act of 2016 as part of these let-die decisions, which are in reality slow euthanasia. This sedation is meant to avoid any suffering for a patient even though he is claimed to be in a vegetative state, without any awareness of the world around him.
This perhaps explains why the doctor did not even consider it useful to inform the mother of the person he was going to kill on the eve of the execution.
As for the judges of the Court of Cassation, they also acted as if Viviane and Pierre Lambert no longer existed, tweeting their decision on the absence of “assault” on the part of the French state at 5 p.m. Friday, June 28, at the same time posting on the Court's website, without the lawyers even taking the time to share it with Lamberts’ parents and two siblings, Triomphe told LifeSite. This was despite the judges’ commitment to give the family a bit of time. Even this small manifestation of humanity was denied them.
But it is humanity itself that is the victim of this abominable and protracted judicial battle for the life of an innocent man. Humanity has been denied and flouted in the person of the profoundly handicapped Vincent Lambert, whom the mainstream press falsely insisted is in a “vegetative state.”
We have here a “vegetable” who cried during the first attempt to killing him in 2013, who cried again in front of his parents on the eve of May 20 when his feeding tube would be pulled. (His doctors probably had, because treatment protocols require it, to tell him what they were going to do.)
This “vegetable” sometimes responded clearly and in his own way to his mother's requests. He was a “vegetable” who followed people with his eyes. He was even recorded swallowing spoonfuls of cream or yogurt given by his mother under the watchful eye of a camera, when the doctors kept declaring that he was unable to swallow.
However, there was nothing more urgent than to decide to put him to death and the French state succeeded in having the Court of Cassation rule with unprecedented speed in order to approve it.
This victim was needed to confirm that human beings in France do not benefit from constitutional protection of their right to live. General Prosecutor François Molins urged the Court of Cassation not to accept that the French state should have been found guilty of “assault” for violating Vincent Lambert's fundamental freedom. And he also explained why, saying they should not put into jeopardy the French abortion law and the Leonetti-Claeys law on the end of life by recognizing a fundamental right to life. So these are death laws, without question.
Suspending the death protocol - merely suspending it! - for Vincent Lambert would have deprived him of the effectiveness of a patient's right not to be subjected to unreasonable obstinacy, France claimed before the UN when refusing its provisional measures
France’s justice is now imposing this "right" to die with an iron fist on a helpless human being. In a country that suffered so much under the 1789 Revolution, this is a new form of terror.