This trial is historic, but it is only a trial. At the opening of the proceedings, on September 8, 2021, the president of the court Jean-Louis Périès had stressed that this hearing “non-standard”given its scale and the facts judged, should not be freed from the “respect for the norm, in other words, the application of criminal procedure and the rights of everyone”. In case his own promise had slipped his mind, a few days before the verdict, the defense lawyers took it upon themselves to call him back.
About fifteen of them pleaded from Monday June 13 to Friday June 17, mainly in defense of those whom the National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office (PNAT) described as “little hands” of November 13. Lawyers for the five defendants against whom life has been requested will plead next week, after which the magistrates of the specially composed assize court in Paris will retire for three days to shape their decision. They will take with them this wish of the defense, summarized by the last words of Léa Dordilly, Adel Haddadi’s lawyer, on Wednesday: “I’m just asking you to carry on as usual. »
It was a red thread of the week. Karim Laouafi, in defense of Muhammad Usman, a claimed “ordinary application of our ordinary rules”while Fanny Vial, lawyer for Farid Kharkhach, was the wish of a “strict application of the criminal law, as in any other trial, even if we are not in any trial”.
“You don’t go down in history”
The fear had set in that the hearing would overflow its frame, recalled Marie Dosé, the first to stand up to plead on Monday for Ali Oulkadi: “We were afraid that after months of heartbreaking testimonies from the victims, this trial would be lost in spheres other than the judicial sphere, fear of a misguided judicial scene where the therapeutic purpose would prevail. » “The ambition of this trial, the expected catharsis, the response to the words spoken by the Islamic State to our meeting cannot elude the intangible principles of a criminal procedure, a full Friday Ménya Arab-Tigrine, lawyer for Ali El Haddad Asufi. I ask you to resist the human urge not just to judge but to avenge. »
Resist, also, the desire to go beyond the function of judges. “It is not for you to make the definitive and historic judgment on what jihadism is and how to fight it”argued Martin Méchin, another lawyer for Ali El Haddad Asufi, who asked the court to “to rise again” of his client. “It is not a historical, philosophical or moral requirement. This is simply what is required of you by the code of criminal procedure. I’m sorry to tell you this, but you’re not going into the story. At the end of this verdict, you will simply have rendered justice as hundreds of courts in France do. »
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