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At the trial of the November 13 attacks, the first banners of the victims’ lawyers

On the screen of the special assize court, we see a young blonde woman with two black cats in her arms. “We miss Marion. For us, she will always be beautiful and she will always be 24 years old, ” said Me Virginie Bensoussan who came to the bar to talk about Marion, this “little bubble of champagne” who loved life so much. “Christopher had a daughter, Juliette, and a companion, Catherine. He was their rock, their backbone. whispers Me Pascale Billing. A few words also for Estelle, a young English teacher who grew up in Concarneau and who liked to come back on vacation to her Breton lands. “To jump in the waves and wave the kite on the beach”, said Me Barbara Péron.

→ ANALYSIS. Collective pleadings for the lawyers of the victims

It is by memorial pleadings that opened this Monday, May 23, the speech of the lawyers of civil parties before the Paris Assize Court. Very short interventions, in principle no more than a minute, to recall who were the men and women whose lives ended on November 13, 2015. And it will be the same for the next eight days of trial. At each opening of the hearing, there will be these words of life, these very short snapshots so as not to extinguish the memory.

“Coordinated” pleadings

Then will follow the pleadings of the civil parties. A real headache to organize behind the scenes. Because, in this extraordinary trial, there are more than 300 black dresses responsible for representing the victims and very quickly, several of them asked themselves the question of how they were going to plead. Parade one after the other at the bar was hardly conceivable: it would have been necessary to close this trial in the middle of July. To avoid “repetitions” and duplicates, two-thirds of the lawyers have therefore decided to play the collective card by organizing pleadings ” contact information “ around major cross-cutting themes in which the victims could find themselves.

→ STORY. At the trial of the November 13 attacks, the words of the victims who did not want to speak

A great first, inaugurated this Monday at the hearing. Today’s themes: what happened to us? Does evil bring us together? But also the vain expectation of humanity, or even the notion of combatant… The bet is ambitious, because it opens up the promise of a certain quasi-philosophical heightening. With the risk of delivering a copy close to a baccalaureate dissertation in which the nourished evocation of great authors betrays an immoderate use of the dictionary of quotations.

It is clear that the pitfall is not always avoided. We sometimes lose track of certain interventions that are a bit baroque. Quite quickly, we forget the themes of the day to focus on the first banderillas launched in the direction of the accused. “The people who are in the box are neither crazy nor marginal; neither monsters nor manipulated people. They did not have a chaotic life course. They had loving parents who cared about giving them a good education,” launches Me Sylvie Topaloff. “It is not in the most abandoned or economically disadvantaged regions that the jihadist is recruited”, she adds.

“To commit such crimes, you have to deny the humanity in the other”

Other lawyers are trying to fight defendants’ arguments that they are “fighters” came to Europe to respond to the bombings of the Western coalition in Syria. “For there to be a fight, there must be at least a certain equality of arms or a balance in the will to fight”, launches Me Hervé Begeot, adding that the November 13 commando did not target “the French army or police”. “There are no combatants when you come to take the lives of unarmed innocents”, adds the lawyer. “To commit such crimes, you have to deny the humanity in the other”, launches Me Didier Seban.

Me Gérard Chemla evokes the care with which this commando was set up. “We put it together by bringing together men who shouldn’t be moved by the death we inflict”, believes the lawyer. “Some clients told me about those who were killing them, or trying to kill them, without showing any aggression. Killing without empathy is complicated. You have to have trained well to avoid doubt. continues the lawyer, believing that religion can “to allow not to be afraid of the death that one gives and to exalt one’s own death”. And Mr. Chemla fires a final arrow at the defendants: “They defended themselves like sellers of hash. I have not seen or felt them up to this trial. »

→ VIDEOS. Attacks of November 13, 2015, faith put to the test by the attacks




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