What can Paris attacker trial achieve?

The first of many trials against Salah Abdeslam began in Brussels on Monday. He is accused of participating in the attacks in Paris and Brussels on November 13, 2015. Right from the start the accused refused to answer questions or address the court. Journalists discuss the significance of such trials in the fight against terrorism.

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Le Figaro (FR) /

A triumph in court

Even if there is little prospect of terrorists explaining their actions in court they must be put on trial, Le Figaro insists:

“Whether they like it or not is their problem. However, they must not be allowed to impose their twisted logic on the judicial system. If in one form or another the decision were taken not to judge them, they would have achieved a victory. ... As the highest instrument of civilisation, the trial remains the best defence against hatred and mob law. So yes, terrorists must be tried in court, even if we know full well that these trials will neither appease our anger nor improve our understanding of such deeds.”

De Standaard (BE) /

Don't be lulled into false sense of security

Although the trial against Abdeslam is a success in the fight against terrorism, the authorities must not rest on their laurels, De Standaard admonishes:

“Fortunately the decreasing direct threat gives us more time to judge the effectiveness of programmes aimed at detecting and counteracting terrorists. We must remain vigilant regarding individuals who turn their backs on society. The search for structural causes of violent radicalisation and extremism must continue apace. Factors like social isolation and exclusion which provide the basis for the successful mobilisation of jihadism here at home must continue to be the focus of attention. The deceptive sense of security must not be allowed to return.”