Trial of the November 13 attacks: the lawyers of the terrorists will hardly be paid

While the trial of the attacks of November 13, 2015 is due to begin on September 8, the lawyers who are Belgian, like the defendants they will defend, will not be able to benefit from remuneration by legal aid, Franceinfo reported.

As a reminder, legal aid is “State support for costs related to legal proceedings”. It is intended for people who wish to assert their rights in court, but who do not have the means to finance the costs incurred by the procedure. The lawyer’s fees are therefore included in this coverage. In addition, legal aid is also granted in terrorist cases, for the victims as well as for the accused, without condition of income or assets.

Regarding the trial of the November 13 attack, you should know that a lawyer can defend several victims, the aid is therefore combined although it remains decreasing. More specifically, a lawyer will receive 100% of legal aid for the first civil party he represents, then 70% for the second, 60% for the third, 50% for the fourth and then he will receive 40% from the fifth and for all subsequent victims. With more than 1,700 civil parties in the November 13 trial, the estimated sum amounts to several million euros.

On the side of the defence, it is quite the opposite which takes place since only one legal aid is granted per defendant. And for the case of November 13, 14 people will stand in the box of the accused. During the 131 days of scheduled hearings, several lawyers sometimes representing a single accused will be heard. And they will have to share legal aid. Or 272 euros per day, while Belgian lawyers will not be able to claim it at all, since no derogation has been granted, said the Chancellery at the microphone of Franceinfo.

Lawyers fear the closure of their offices

Lawyer Me Stanislas Eskenazi, who has been representing Mohamed Abrini, one of the defendants, for six years, did not hide his fear of the uncertain future of their offices. With this huge affair which entails “a gigantic emotional pressure” the Belgian lawyer recalls “that we ask lawyers to come and defend these people accused of terrorist crimes without having the guarantee of being able to make their offices survive afterwards”.

“It is not a question here for me and my colleagues to get rich, just to seriously defend these men without being in the anguish of seeing our cabinets sink” he explains. Lawyers cannot expect to be paid by their clients or their families either, since in France and Belgium the assets of a person accused of terrorism are frozen.

In the meantime Me Eskenazi and his colleagues will be able to count on the Belgian Ministry of Justice, which will pay them aid covering travel costs, including round trips by Thalys train between Paris and Brussels.

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