Trial of the November 13 attacks: the courtroom ready to host this historic meeting

After a year of work, the “extraordinary” courtroom – built from scratch in the former courthouse in Paris, for the opening this Wednesday, September 8 of the trial of the attacks of November 13 – is ready for the D-Day.

Built in the current “salle des pas perdus” of the courthouse on the Île de la Cité, listed as a historic monument, this brand new sitting room was designed “with respect for the heritage” existing in a huge wooden structure 45 meters long and 15 meters wide, built from scratch.

In total, it can accommodate up to 550 people. The others, that is to say the civil parties, journalists and the public, will be able to follow the debates from about fifteen rooms scattered throughout the palace, in addition to this main room. The installation of rooms for the retransmission of debates, a control room, a web radio available to the civil parties, a support system for victims but also spaces entirely dedicated to the press are in fact planned.

Thousands of people expected

Particularly publicized, this trial will be just as exceptional by the number of people concerned. It concerns in fact a dozen accused, including 11 appearing detained and 3 free, as well as 1,765 civil parties assisted by nearly 300 lawyers. In front of the magistrates of the special assize court, wooden desks equipped with microphones will allow 24 defense lawyers on one side, 42 of the civil party opposite, to plead.

Seeing the big picture, on January 19, the Minister of Justice, Éric Dupond-Moretti, had hoped that Justice would be “at the rendezvous of these extraordinary trials so that they are held in the best possible conditions for all the parties”. And to add on this subject that the “investment” of his ministry was “totally up to this challenge”.

Finally, it should be noted that if this room will be able to accommodate other major trials to come, as the Keeper of the Seals underlined when announcing its creation, it is not intended to be used permanently. Imagined to be provisional according to the Ministry of Justice, it should indeed leave the Palais de Justice on Île de la Cité at the beginning of 2023.

Although ephemeral, it is “nonetheless in conformity with the functional requirements of the holding of extraordinary hearings”, abounds the institution in a press release, assuring that it will be in conformity “both in terms of safety but also of ease of use ”. A specific system has also been designed to accommodate and better manage “the massive flow of civil parties, defendants, lawyers and journalists”.

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