for the first time, the lawyers will plead together

2:00 p.m., May 15, 2022

Exceptional by the number of civil parties – nearly 2,300 –, and by the long months of hearings – already eight –, the trial of the attacks of November 13 is also exceptional by the unprecedented organization put in place by the lawyers for the victims and their families. From May 23, only 150 of them (out of 327) will speak before the special assize court in Paris.

More than a hundred have given up pleading – with the agreement of their clients – and are relying on their colleagues. “At some point, too much speech kills speech, explains Frédéric Bibal, at the origin, with others, of this original device. You have to organize yourself to remain audible, interesting and accessible. » Objective: to keep to the calendar, already disrupted several times by the Covid-19, with a verdict now expected on June 29, and above all to avoid a traffic jam of repetitive pleadings.

Objective: order the speaking

In recent weeks, these lawyers have therefore multiplied the meetings to define themes around which to organize the 150 speeches planned over nine days. Work facilitated by the fact that for six years, and the beginning of the investigation, more than 250 of them are part of a criminal group which works to coordinate the civil parties. “The idea is not to hold conferences, explains Me Bibal, but to order speaking on behalf of the victims. »

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Some councils will thus evoke the places of the attacks, while others will deal with cross-cutting subjects. “I’m going to talk about the children, explains Helena Christidis. Some were present at the Bataclan, others have lost loved ones, still others live with relatives who survived. Colleagues will deal with survivor’s guilt. The idea is to ensure that all victims can recognize themselves and thus feel heard. »

“Usually, we are rather loners”

It wasn’t necessarily easy. “The very essence of a lawyer is to carry the voice of his client, continues Me Christidis. NOTe not speak, especially in a trial like this, it can be complicated. But it is the common interest that takes precedence. The idea is to take a little height. »

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Because after more than 130 days of hearing, and long explanations and testimonies, lawyers must offer a new perspective. “This trial is a long journey, testifies Jean Reinhart. Our challenge is to shed additional light. »“I don’t know what it’s going to be like, but I’m happy with this collective work, commented Me Bibal. Usually, we are rather loners. » Some – between 60 and 70 – will however express themselves individually. “These pleadings also have their importance, it is not a competition”, relativizes Me Reinhart.

Another symbolic gesture: this week, the group decided to reorganize its interventions to leave an additional day of hearing to the civil parties who have not yet testified. Present at the Bataclan that evening, Cédric Maurin is one of them and will speak at the helm on Tuesday. “This gesture of the lawyers, what class, he observes. It is essential to have time. Because what will remain of this trial is the words of the victims. »

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