On the 2nd of September 2020, the trial of the 14 accused of the terrorist attacks perpetrated on 7, 8 and 9 January 2015, respectively against Charlie Hebdo, in Montrouge and at the store Hyper Cacher, opened at the Paris Court. 10 of the 14 accused were placed in pre-trial detention, 1 is under judicial control and 3 are subject to an international warrant. They are facing between 20 years of criminal imprisonment and life imprisonment.
This trial is out of the ordinary for 3 reasons:
- First, because the Criminal Court is made up only of professional magistrates. This is the rule since a 2017 law which provides that in the event of terrorist attacks, the First Instance is made up of the president of the Criminal Court and four assessors. The hearing is chaired by the First President of the chamber at the Paris Court of Appeal. The prosecution is represented by two attorneys general (an assistant anti-terrorism public prosecutor as well as a deputy anti-terrorist public prosecutor).
- It is also an extraordinary trial by its organisation: 171 volumes of proceedings, 200 civil parties, 94 lawyers, 144 witnesses, 90 accredited media including 27 foreign media. To comply with the rules of social distancing (due to covid-19), and given the high amount of people present for this trial, four rooms have been set up for the retransmission of the trial.
- Finally, this trial is out of the ordinary because it is the first time that a terrorism trial is being video recorded. The National Anti-Terrorism Public Prosecutor’s Office requested for the trial to be recorded, in order to create historical archives.
At the end of the trial, all recordings will be forwarded to the National Archives which are responsible for their preservation. The audio-visual recording of a trial can be communicated for historical or scientific purposes, as soon as the proceedings have ended and the decision has become final.
Exceptional support measures have been implemented for this trial: the Parisian victim support association Paris Aide aux Victimes, member of the Federation France Victimes, has been requested by the National Anti-Terrorism Public Prosecutor’s Office to support the victims. 9 victim support workers are present within the tribunal during all hearings, to welcome, listen, support psychologically and legally all victims.
The deliberations of the trial of the attacks on 7, 8 and 9 January 2015 should be delivered on the 10th of November 2020.