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Paris - Finding themselves in the dock over a grisly murder case, disgruntled French judges have thrown down the gavel over the past week, paralysing the justice system in an open revolt against President Nicolas Sarkozy.
By Wednesday, nearly all French courts had suspended non-urgent hearings, causing more cases to pile up in a country already battling a significant backlog.
The situation was set to intensify Thursday, with judges threatening an all-out strike in protest over Sarkozy's incrimination of the judiciary over the murder of an 18-year-old waitress.
The Laetitia Perrais case, to which a horrified French public has been glued for weeks, has shone a light on serious dysfunctions in the justice system.
Two weeks after she went missing from her home in the western village of Pornic, near Nantes, the teenager's dismembered body was discovered in a pond last week.
The main suspect in the case is a convicted sex offender, who claims he accidentally knocked her down and threw her body in a river.
That Tony Meilhon, a 31-year-old delinquent with 13 convictions for a range of crimes, including rape, could have slipped past monitoring systems for repeat offenders, has galled many French, including Sarkozy.
Meilhon was supposed to - but did not - receive post-prison counselling on his release last year. His case, being considered 'non-priority' was thrown on a pile of 887 others by reintegration officials.
Sarkozy, who has a habitude of seizing on grisly murders to accuse the judiciary of being lax, vowed those responsible for letting him slipping out of view would pay.
'Whoever covered or allowed this offence (his release without counselling) will be punished, that's the rule,' he said, accusing both the police and judicial system of 'dysfunctions.'
In the usually tight-lipped world of judges the president's remark unleashed a torrent of frustration.
'Sometimes he reproaches us for putting too many people behind bars, sometimes not enough. And now he's accusing us of being responsible for crimes,' one anti-terrorist judge in Paris complained to Liberation newspaper.
The judges say they are doing the best they can with too few resources.
France has 9.1 judges for every 100,000 people, compared with a European average of 20.6. Their caseload is mounting as the conservative Sarkozy cracks down on crime. Each judge has about 100 cases on his desk at any one time.
At the same time the number of offenders under post-prison surveillance has jumped 39 per cent in five years.
The counsellors who were responsible for Meilhon's case had warned the government before Laetitia's murder they were swamped.
Sarkozy's critics accuse him of riding the emotiveness around isolated horrific crimes to push through an increasingly repressive approach and curry support among right-wing voters.
An opinion poll published last week showed only 24 per cent of French people supporting the president, ahead of elections in 2012.
The government, for its part, accused the judges of overreacting to his remarks and of being out of touch with the victims of crime.
With a showdown looming, Justice Minister Michel Mercier tried on Wednesday to defuse the situation.
'I simply want to remind judges that I understand their difficulties,' he said.
The outcome of the story above disgusted me and saddened me deeply. It got me angry at the injustice of this world.
I wondered why God let those horrible things happened to innocent people; they haven’t done anything worse than any of us to deserve such a terrible death.
Then, I remembered the picture of Jesus Christ on the cross. Then, I thought about my own sins and realised that nobody is perfect. God is the ultimate judge of our transgressions.
Nonetheless, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the biological family which had lost a great daughter, Laetitia, to such a terrible tragedy.
Laetitia was only 18 years old, with such a pretty face. Her life on earth was so short for such crucial times as we are living in now.
Later on, I thought how difficult it is for people to believe in God when He let horrible tragedies occur in our lives.
As the night fell upon my town, I went to bed but I couldn’t sleep straight away. My mind was overreacting to the outcome of this story, so I picked up my daily devotional book “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. I read this interesting passage: “We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it. God’s purpose is not limited by your past. He turned a murderer names Moses into a leader and a coward named Gideon into a courageous hero, and he can do amazing things with the rest of your life, too. God specialises in giving people a fresh start. The Bible says, “What happiness for those whose guilt has been forgiven! What relief for those who have confessed their sins and God has cleared their record?
We shouldn’t forget also the apostle Paul who persecuted to death the followers of Jesus Christ.
God used those mighty men (Paul, Moses, Gideon) to accomplish many mighty things and to bring salvation to quite a lot of people.
There is hope for every sinner in this world, no matter what the size of the sin is. God sacrificed his son on the cross to save us from our sins, to show us that He has forgiven us. We need to pray for our enemies as the Bible says, in order for God to bring them into the Kingdom of God through the salvation of their sins because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
The next morning, God put in my heart to pray for the lost souls of this world to experience his forgiveness. Later on that day, I attended a prayer meeting; I prayed that God would bring salvation to people involved with prostitution, killing, child pornography and those who are rotting in jail.
I prayed for revival and that the church will visit the people in the streets and also the criminals in jail in order for God to bring deliverance and speak his message of salvation to those sinners.
I prayed that God would use his angels to fight the spiritual battle with the forces of darkness so people would come to know the truth about God and be free, as God convicts them of their evil doings, even preventing them of committing another horrible crime. I prayed that those sinners would find healing for their souls, minds, body and heart in the church. I prayed also for deliverance from the oppression of the enemy and that the power of God would supersede the power of Satan in this world.
God needs to save those sinners in order to bring many other sinners to know His love and forgiveness through the experience of their salvation.
The other day, my pastor also talked about a famous evangelist in New York that goes out in the streets to bring the criminals and all sort of people to a big facility to tell them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he risks his life to help those people to change for the better. One day, he was even shot in the cheek but God didn’t allow him to die. What a great testimony. God was on his side.
A while back, I used to work for the Metropolitan Police in London. A retired police officer came to share his testimony during lunchtime. He told us that he was called to stop a robbery a few years back. As he managed to track down the criminal, he was shot in the jaw.
As a result, the police officer needed to have reconstructive surgery to his jaw and had to stay months upon months in hospital to recover from his ordeal. However, being a Christian, this police officer decided to forgive his attacker by visiting him in prison. Then, his enemy became his friend and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour.
Nonetheless, this offender encountered quite a lot of difficulties in managing with his life again as a consequence of his criminal record.
Quote from Rick Warren book: “Resentment always hurts you more than it does the person you resent. While your offender has probably forgotten the offense and gone on with life, you continue to stew in your pain, perpetuating the past. Listen: Those who have hurt you in the past cannot continue to hurt you more unless you hold on to the pain through resentment. Your past is past! Nothing will change it. You are only hurting yourself with your bitterness. For your own sake, learn from it, and let it go.” The Bible says” To worry yourself to death with resentment would be foolish, senseless thing to do”.
Sometimes, God uses angels to convict sinners. For example, a Christian lady was walking under a bridge when she saw a man sitting under it. She reached her home and switched on the TV to watch the news. They were searching for a dangerous criminal in her neighbourhood, as they showed his picture on the TV screen, this lady realised that it was the same man that she saw under the bridge. Immediately, she phoned up the police to tell them about the whereabouts of the criminal so they could lock him up in prison.
As a result, this Christian lady went to visit the convicted man in prison and asked him why he hadn’t killed her when she walked under the bridge. He replied that he couldn’t approach her because she was surrendered by two big giants on each side. God had protected this lady from harm and had helped in convicting this sinner of His amazing power.
To conclude, I would encourage each believer of Christ (including myself) to pray and speak the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the outcasts and worst sinners of our society, there is no discrimination in God Kingdom. God will be able to save those “newly saved people” for the salvation of his Kingdom.
To go back to my prayers earlier in my church, a lady came to meet me after the church meeting and said to me that my prayers had really helped her and spoken into her life. Halleluiah. Glory to God. The Lord uses his people to speak his purpose for our lives.
Recently, there was also another lady that God used in my church to speak to those who want to commit suicide, she said that God loves us and His life is our life. God stands by us as we experience trials and would always lead us to reach our breakthroughs, we should only put our trust in Him, be patient and not doubt his saving power from our difficulties and trials.
When we go to church, God speaks through the pastor his word to encourage us, the pastor often speaks into difficult situations that we are experiencing in our life at the moment. Sometimes, our kids drive us crazy because they don’t obey and we are tempted to give up on them. However, God remembered me that despite our disobedience and our wicked ways, He never give up on us, He is patient in waiting for us to repent. He doesn’t destroy us because of his unconditional love, so we should be patient with our kids also and not give up on them. Patiently, disciplining them as God correct us, still loving us despite our many sins.
I just wanted to apologize for the length of my article but I had to share everything God has put in my heart. I remembered when I went to live in the United Kingdom; I went through quite a lot of turmoil in my life. I kept in touch with my friends and family by writing lengthy letters. One of my housemates told me that when she received long letters from her friends, she bins them because she thinks that most of it was pure invented lies. In my case, it is not lies, I just like sharing my experience and thoughts of God to encourage others.
God bless you warmly and thank you for reading me.
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