November 13 terror attacks: the historic trial opens on Wednesday September 8

Published by Cécile D. · Published on 2 September 2021 at 17h07
On November 13, 2015, France was hit by horror: several simultaneous attacks carried out by terrorists in Paris killed 130 people. The attack trial opens on September 8, 2021 at Paris special criminal court. A historical and special trial for more than one reason.

This is a date likely to stay forever in French people’s minds. On November 13, 2015, shortly past 9 p.m., several shootings and suicide-attacks have been carried out by terrorists claiming to be member of the terrorist organization of the Islamic state. The Stade de France, the Bataclan, and several festive streets of Paris were the targets of the terrorists who killed 130 people, injured 413 more including 99 in a very serious way.

An awful night that will be remembered on September 8, 2021. Starting from this Wednesday and for the next nine months, 20 defendants will be judged at Paris special criminal court. In front of them, 1,800 victims on the benches of the plaintiff and over 300 lawyers. An uncommon trial that required specific layouts.

On the Île de la Cité, in the Palais de Justice, a room has been especially built for this monumental trial. Over 700sqm to fit about 500 people at the same time and the cameras that will entirely record the trial. In addition to this impressive tribunal, 14 more rooms will be used to fit plaintiffs, defendants’ relatives, as well as journalists and the audience, first president of Paris Court of Appeals Jean-Michel Hayat unveiled on France Info.

The magistrate explains: “It was necessary to create a hearing room complying with the historic setting of this Palais de Justice enabling to fit a very large number of plaintiffs and be at the level of the stakes of the biggest trial ever organized in France”.

Entrances are planned for each category of attendees: those taking part in the trial in a more or less close fashion will have to follow a specific route to not mix with those coming to the court for other cases. “Delaying the appeal of a labor court decision or the appeal of a divorce decision is out of the question. Justice will work 100% all along the period”, Hayat guarantees.

The trial is about to be a lenghty one: 20 people will be judged, and thousands of people are calling for justice; the investigation file includes one million pages: as many elements to take into account for the judges so they can make their decisions.

In the dock, only 14 people: 11 of them are currently in prison, three will be free at the tribunal. The remaining six are judged by default; among them five are presumed dead.

In addition to the size of the room – likely to be big enough to feet every single person involved in this judicial case – other challenges are at stake in the preparation of the trial. The tragedy of the terror attacks cannot erase the Covid-19 epidemic: with as many people gathered in the hearing room, the risk of a cluster is significant. The State also fears the terror threat that could be aroused as France returns on the biggest terror attack ever in the country.

To overcome the security problem, the decision of shutting the Île-de-la-Cité has been made. A special accreditation will be required if you wish to access the center of Paris.

As for magistrates, effects likely to be aroused by reminding these tragic events are feared. Bataclan survivor and head of the Life for Paris victim association Arthur Dénouveaux anticipates “some emotional overwhelming”. Very raw emotions likely to influence the judges.

Anyway, this is what defendants’ lawyers fear. “This trial promises to be filled with emotions, but justice will have to get over it if they do not what to lose sight of the principles founding this rule of law. We will make sure this exceptional trial will not turn into a trial of exception” Salah Abdeslam’s lawyers Ms. Olivier Ronen and Mr. Martin Vettes told to La Voix du Nord.

Given this very special period, many tributes will be paid to the victims of the November 13, 2015’s terror attack, and this year more than ever.

Practical information

Dates and Opening Time
Starts 8 September 2021

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