between lawyers and victims, maintaining links

“Usually, we have our customers on our side. There, we feel alone on the benches, ” smiles Me Virginie Le Roy, lawyer for around fifty civil parties in the trial of the November 13 attacks. How, in a nine-month long trial, maintain this bond of trust that is expressed at the assizes? Respond to questions from clients, many of whom are sometimes represented by the same lawyer? Explain the procedure to them? To meet this challenge, the more than 300 civil party lawyers in the “V13” trial had to innovate.

→ ANALYSIS. After four months of trial, many mysteries remain to be unraveled

In the Paris office of M.e Le Roy, the civil parties meet regularly on Saturday mornings. Moments of conviviality, after often trying days of hearing.“Questions fly, it’s spontaneous. There is a real exchange, it allows you to release the pressure a little. “ The lawyer had organized meetings even before the start of the trial in September, so that everyone could get to know each other and not arrive alone in front of the judicial mountain.

Forensic poetry

Although many victims attended the hearings at the start of the trial, in particular during the testimony phase, today they are few in number in the court on the Ile de la Cité. Either because they follow the debates remotely viathe web-radio, or because they do not attend every time of this judicial marathon.

Me Jean Reinhart, lawyer for a hundred civil parties, thus sends daily letters to the victims in the form of an info bulletin, written by his daughter and illustrated by a designer. “A monstrous piece of work, read by about 1,400 people! “, he rejoices.

→ STORY. The discreet radicalization of Salah Abdeslam

“It’s a sensitive writing on sensitive things”, adds the one who also represents the association 13onze15 Fraternity and truth. The texts, short and punctuated with literary references, are addressed directly to their readers. Like this excerpt, when the trial resumed in January, finally postponed for lack of a negative Covid test for the accused Salah Abdeslam: “Some have waited for Godot in vain. Yesterday, the Court was just waiting for the Go from the doctors. You, since November 13, 2015, have been waiting for Justice and its words, even if they will never fix anything. “

The sixty chronicles are listed on a site where there are also some testimonials in fullof victims who testified. There is also practical advice for civil parties, a decryption of the stages of the trial, in short, a toolbox to get through the trials.

Information shared live

During the hearing too, the exchanges are continuous. “The WhatsApp loop is running at full speed”, explains M.e The Roy. The civil parties who follow the trial remotely, with a delay of thirty minutes, often send him questions. “If I can answer during the hearing, I do. “

This instantaneousness can be found in the note-taking shared live by Me Gérard Chemla, lawyer for 140 civil parties. “These are raw documents, where the three members of the team write down the questions they want to ask during the hearing, he explains. We also share our questions there.Our customers who wish to do so have access to it.

At the same time, the team manages a dedicated discussion channel, to answer questions, explain the schedule, etc. “I remember other trials where the bond was strong and perhaps more personalized. There we are obliged to build a technical organization for this link to exist”, justifies the lawyer of Reims.

This “community of life”, as M calls ite Chemla, will continue to walk during these months when the floor will be given to the accused. The lawyers will play a particularly important role, since they will try, through their questions, to remove the gray areas that persist.

“When we call our customers to ask them if they want to know something in particular, they tell us: ‘We trust you’, raises Me Reinhart. Many came to lay down their suffering, their trauma, their story at the foot of the court. Their job is done. Now it is up to us to act. “


The shadow of the Covid on the trial

Hearings are already a week late following the Covid contamination of Salah Abdeslam at the end of December. The trial should resume on Tuesday, January 11, if the accused’s state of health allows it.

A long sequence should open: that of the interrogations of the accused on the merits of the case. Stays in Syria, preparations in Belgium, logistics and commission of the facts… All these topics will be discussed until the end of March.

The hearings of psychiatric experts will follow, the pleadings and the indictment, for a deliberation planned – for the moment – ​​on May 24 and 25.


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