Paris: Bataclan attacks trial begins

Nearly six years after the terrorist attacks of November 2015 in which more than 130 people were killed, the trial of the suspected attackers began in Paris on Wednesday. The hearings will be recorded on video and made public. Commentators praise the legal process yet are concerned that other things have been overlooked.

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Le Soir (BE) /

Hopefully an ordinary trial

Le Soir's Paris correspondent Joëlle Meskens hopes that the scope of the trial won't distract from essential aspects:

“Everything will be out of the ordinary. The size of the purpose-built courtroom in the historic Paris Palace of Justice (45 metres long), the number of civil parties (around 1,800), the length of the hearings (more than eight months), the size of the case files (53 metres long). This gigantism is commensurate to the horror of the act. ... But whatever its scale, the trial must not be excessive. For this is not an exceptional case but a very ordinary trial that does honour to a nation whose values have not wavered even after almost a decade of Islamist terror.”

Polityka (PL) /

Proof of democracy

The trial is important in several ways for society as a whole, Polityka explains:

“The French authorities are giving the trial high priority so as to raise awareness of this traumatic page in the country's history. And the trial has an important legal pedagogical aspect. In the words of Le Monde's terrorism expert Soren Selow [editor's note: in the original version the wrong source was cited]: 'Democracy must prove that it can respond to barbaric acts and blind killing with a fair trial, where the accused have the right to defend themselves and all concrete evidence is presented'.”

Marianne (FR) /

You can't put an ideology behind bars

This trial is only a small step in the fight against jihadism, Marianne comments:

“The trial will not be a posthumous lawsuit against assailants who died while attacking and therefore cannot be convicted. ... First of all, a deadly ideology that is difficult to legally condemn and imprison must be put on trial. The mental prisons of these people are stronger than the law. ... We must never forget that the IS is pursuing its lethal enterprise in anticipation of the final judgement.”

Libération (FR) /

Justice wins in the end

Libération is glad that the trial is being recorded on video:

“A filmed hearing for history that could allow the witnesses who insisted on being present to rise above the victim status ascribed to them by the terrorists. ... It is regrettable that this national event will not be broadcast live to allow for collective solidarity. But the filmed archives will remain to show future generations that beyond the facts and figures, justice triumphed over barbarity.”

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

Banlieue problem still being suppressed

The trial also fulfils the purpose of showing how a democracy deals with pain, stresses Paris correspondent Stefan Brändle in the Frankfurter Rundschau:

“If only to make clear that the French legal system does not respond with the instincts of revenge and violence, but objectively, deliberately and resolutely. Since 13 November 2015, France has shown that it is possible not to let the attacks bring it down. The police and counter-terrorism have been strengthened without the citizens allowing their daily lives to be spoiled. They show strength in this. At the same time, they continue to suppress what is probably their biggest problem: the banlieue zones from which most of the attackers come. This is France's weak point - and no court case can solve that.”