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The decision to try ex-president Jacques Chirac in a criminal court is a historic step for France. In the history of the country, only two previous heads of state have been put on trial: Philippe Pétain for his collaboration with Nazi Germany and Louis XVI under the Revolution. Chirac, who was president from 1995 to 2007, will be charged with "breach of trust and embezzlement of public funds." The charges relate to 21 fictitious jobs paid for by his cabinet when he was mayor of Paris from 1977-1995.

Going against the opinion of the office of public prosecutions, which announced that there was not enough evidence for a case in September, the examining magistrate took the view that there was sufficient information to launch proceedings against the former head of state, who benefited from 12 years of immunity during his time as president. "The courts are finally moving to settle questions of illegal manoeuvres and illicit funds in the Chirac era," [remarks Libération.](http:// http://www.liberation.fr/politiques/0101600232-l-ardoise)