“We can legitimately think that this trial foreshadows a victory for terrorism. »
The load is heavy. Twenty days after the verdict of the trial of the attacks of November 13 and ten days after the expiration of the appeal period, eleven lawyers who defended several defendants published Monday a column in Le Monde calling into question the holding of the debates. Among them are notably My Olivia Ronen and Martin Vettes, the two lawyers for Salah Abdeslam, sentenced to life imprisonment.
The thirty counsel who intervened in defense were approached upstream about this platform. But the majority did not wish to be associated with it.
For those who signed the text, “the conduct of this trial and the resulting solution are in contradiction with the founding principles of our criminal legislation”. The criminal lawyers thus consider that “the principle of strict interpretation of criminal law has been abandoned”, and “the burden of proof reversed”, castigating the judgment of the special assize court accused of validating “the most wobbly” such as “coaction”. It is on this legal analysis that the magistrates relied to inflict the heaviest sentence in French law on Salah Abdeslam, the only member of the terrorist commandos still alive, and considered to be a co-perpetrator of all the crime scenes, including those where he was not present.
Asked about France Inter the day after the verdict, Me Olivia Ronen had already called into question “a great elasticity of criminal law” and “something a little strange” on this point.
“It is the prosecution that the doubt has benefited”
Unsurprisingly, the collective of lawyers also denounces the qualification of association of terrorist criminals, often implicated on the benches of the defense. “It is the prosecution that the doubt has benefited”, they underline before criticizing a verdict which is for them “a political decision before being a legal decision”. As Mes Ronen and Vettes had said during their pleadings, speaking of a “white death”, the incompressible life sentence is compared to a “slow death sentence”. “The lighter sentences imposed on a few other defendants only responded to strategic, that is to say political, considerations”, adds the forum, which considers that the sanctions were only intended to encourage them to do not appeal.
“The fate of twenty defendants was debated in 48 hours”, deplore the defense lawyers, who wonder: “was there really room for debate in such a short time? How not to think that everything was played in advance? »
The president of Life for Paris Arthur Dénouveaux, one of the associations of victims of the attacks of November 13, 2015 which left 132 dead, quickly reacted to this platform. In his eyes, the defense “is doing the trial of the trial and trying to use it to criticize anti-terrorism justice, he wrote on Twitter. By calling those who disagree naive. »
“Attacking what would have been a political trial by a political forum under the guise of law is quite curious”, comments for his part the historian Christophe Naudin, survivor of the Bataclan attack.
The initiative is sometimes judged harshly by other defense lawyers, while the “trial of the century” seemed to have ended with the observation that all the parties had been able to express themselves, despite the shortcomings of a hearing which lasted ten months. “I find it completely stupid but it’s my opinion”, tackles the advice of another accused of the trial, who does not wish to expand further on the subject.
On the civil party side, a lawyer expressed his “tremendous astonishment” when one of his colleagues, Me Virginie Le Roy, showed herself to be quite upset, finding “the maneuver unfair”. “Frankly, it leaves me skeptical,” she said, believing that “certain elements” of the platform “are false”. “If the law has really been violated – which is not my opinion – it was necessary to appeal and then seize the court of cassation. One cannot, as a lawyer, reproach the court for not respecting the law without using the weapons provided for by this same law”.
“I read it and it bothers me a lot, abounds Me Aude Rimailho. To say that Salah Abdeslam was deterred from appealing is nonsense. It is very shocking to comment on a court decision, especially from the defense. »