“How, in a few minutes each, were we going to express the infinite diversity of the victims, and at the same time underline the links that unite them? How, in a few minutes each, were we going to talk both about our clients, but also about what, through them, was targeted by the terrorists? It just seemed impossible to us. »
The pleadings of the lawyers for the civil parties began on Monday May 23, the start of the home stretch of the trial of the November 13 attacks which should lead to a verdict on June 29, and as underlined by Mand Frédérique Giffard in an introductory remark, with some 330 lawyers representing more than 2,500 civil parties, pleading as usual was not an option. Something had to be invented.
Several dozen lawyers agreed not to plead, the others worked on a theme
Nearly half of the lawyers representing two-thirds of the civil parties therefore agreed on “an unprecedented form” : a collective argument not focused on their clients, but on the big issues raised in the hearing – radicalization, violence of the facts, physical injuries, post-traumatic stress, bereavement, resilience, the strength of the trial , etc. Several dozen lawyers have agreed not to plead, the others have worked on a theme, no one remains at the helm for more than twenty minutes.
“Our hope is that each of the civil parties finds themselves in one or other of these pleadings, that they feel welcomed there, with other companions in misfortune, and that this last halt before the end of the trial helps her come out of it feeling a little less alone”explained M.and Giffard, warning: “As often the first times, it will not be perfect. »
It is not, in fact. During the first three days of this choral pleading, the laudable intention of departure has often disappeared behind a laborious implementation, embarrassing at times, which raises questions about what a lawyer’s pleading should or can be. civil party.
Redundancy and Bad Boxes
The attorneys general of the National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office (PNAT) will request, in June, sentences against the accused whom they consider guilty and will say on what elements, according to them, this guilt is based. The defense lawyers will then try to mitigate the responsibility or even demonstrate the innocence of their client before the court. But what can a civil party lawyer plead in such a trial? At the “classical” assizes, his pleading is generally the occasion to pay a last tribute to the victim or to describe the suffering of his relatives. But in this huge trial, where it was done with such power, and rather four hundred times than one, by the survivors and the relatives of the victims?
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