Among the 130 lawyers who will intervene in the trial of the attacks of November 13, 2015 in Paris, two are Orléanais: Me Angéline Paris and Me Ladislas Wedrychowski, who represent victims. They give us their feelings a few hours before the opening of an extraordinary trial.
Both are lawyers in Orléans, but they will meet at the Special Assize Court of Paris which judges, from this Wednesday noon, the attacks of November 13, 2015: Me Angéline Paris and Me Ladislas Wedrychowski, who represent parties civilians. They speak about the opening of this historic trial scheduled over 9 months, and the titanic organization.
Angéline Paris defends an Orléanais aged 54 today, survivor of the Bataclan attack, and who wants to remain anonymous: physically unharmed, he is very marked psychologically. Ladislas Wedrychowski, he represents the parents of Christophe Mutez, killed during the attack at Bataclan, originally from Trainou, near Orléans, and then 40 years old. Interview with the two lawyers.
Ms. Angéline Paris: As you are like my client, that is to say a survivor, therefore a survivor in the literal sense of the term, your concern is to be able to live on a daily basis. So for him, this trial must take place of course, these individuals must be condemned; but this is not a step that will allow it to rebuild itself. Despite the passage of time, there is not a single day when he does not think about the attack, he still sees the bodies, the screams, the sound of shots, the smells, especially gunpowder, and It is not this trial, unfortunately, that will take away these images and traumas. For him, there will be no catharsis effect and I am not sure, moreover, that he follows the audiences via the webradio set up for the occasion.
Me Ladislas Wedrychowski: For the parents of Christophe Mutez, this trial is an expected step that will allow them to continue the work of mourning since their disappearance of their only son. It’s an expected moment but at the same time it’s something very difficult for them to follow, because their age will not allow them to be physically present – so they will follow this from a distance, through the story that I could give them hearings that I will attend. But for them it is important to try to understand what happened – of course, they already know this through the instruction, but they need to hear the words of the defendants. Even if the main accused, Salah Abdeslam, takes refuge for the moment in silence, this will not necessarily be the case for the other accused: yet it is indeed an organized gang, each had a role, and without participation of each of the terrorists, the attacks could not have taken place.
Ms. Angéline Paris: Honestly, this is not at the heart of my client’s concerns. But I was struck, during the preliminary interviews organized by the magistrates of the Special Assize Court with the civil parties, by the fact that, for many families of victims, these questions are a priority. We can still think that the course of the trial will provide some answers from this point of view.
Mr. Ladislas Wedrychowski: This is an important point that will be raised since high personalities such as the former President of the Republic François Hollande will be heard as witnesses; We also know that Abdelhamid Abaaoud (the operational commander of the attacks) was wanted by all the police forces in Europe and that he still found himself on French soil, so we cannot escape a finding of failure . But I believe that the trial should not be wrong, we should not blame it for the dysfunction of our intelligence services, among other things. Perhaps, but later, another phase for possible prosecutions but we know that, until now, the prosecutions against the State, have ended in failures …
Ms. Angéline Paris: This is really a major subject for me, I don’t know if my client will have the opportunity to speak at the bar and if he wishes to do so. It is of course my role to carry his voice, to explain what he has lived and what he is experiencing today. But how will all of this be organized? When can we intervene, and at what times? There is indeed a provisional timetable for the hearings, but these questions remain in part unanswered. With so many civil parties, it is obvious that we lawyers do not have our usual referral software. Not to mention that these are facts of exceptional gravity and which we have all witnessed, in a way, since we have experienced them live on television …
Me Ladislas Wedrychowski: 5 weeks of hearing of the civil parties are planned, from September 28 to October 29, it is immensely long but obviously necessary. When you say that the trial will last 9 months, it is a minimum, because I find it hard to see how a president of the Assize Court could cut the floor to victims who need to speak or ask questions of the accused … It will be difficult to organize but the president of the Assize Court is perfectly familiar with this kind of exercise, even if it is on an unprecedented scale. I am convinced that everyone will find their place.
Ms. Angéline Paris: It is the honor of France to organize this trial. This is essential. Believe me, when you read the dossier, these acts of indescribable violence and horror, it is important that the rule of law takes over, in the face of these acts. So we can certainly consider that it would be preferable for the justice of everyday life also to be endowed with sufficient means, but I believe that one does not go without the other, and that we cannot oppose the two. We cannot deprive ourselves of this trial, and therefore of the means necessary to organize it. It will also be a strong message sent to terrorists: that they have failed to destroy the rule of law.
Mr. Ladislas Wedrychowski: To use an expression that we have heard a lot in another context, I think that this is a trial that must be organized, “whatever the cost”. It is a historic trial: the 1,800 civil parties must be heard, we owe them this trial. The means implemented also allow a certain comfort for the civil parties, I am thinking of courtrooms, psychological cells … Indeed, all this, put end to end, represents very significant sums but it is is obviously necessary. If the French justice could not give that to the victims, there would be another controversy today, and it would be legitimate for once.
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