8th of September: A day for answers?


1765 plaintiffs, 330 lawyers and 20 defendants. These are the staggering numbers of the trial against the terrorists behind the November 2015 Paris attacks. The trial will begin today on the 8th of September and is said to last until at least until May 2022. The magnitude of this trial is unprecedented in France and requires exceptional measures to be taken. Including the construction of a new courtroom to accommodate an audience of 550 people. There are also ten cameras which will ensure the recording of the trail to be broadcast worldwide. The trails bring back painful memories for many Parisians as the event still affects many people to this day.

The Events of 13th of November 2015

The attacks began at the Stade de France where there was a friendly football game taking place between France and Germany. It is important to note that François Hollande (the French president at the time) as well as the German minister of Foreign Affairs were in attendance at the game. Around 9 pm the first explosion was heard outside of the stadium. At first the people present in the stadium believed that the sound had come from a firecracker. However, four minutes later another explosion was heard. It was only then that they were made aware that this was a terrorist attack. In fact, there had been three kamikazes at the stadium, killing one civilian and injuring 63 others. 

A few minutes later, three other terrorists opened fire on the streets and restaurants in the 10th and 11th arrondissements in Paris, killing 39 people and wounded over 15 others. Two of these terrorists managed to escape and were found by police a few days later. The other assailant committed suicide. 

Then at 9:40 a third group of perpetrators arrived at the Bataclan Concert Hall where 1,500 people were in attendance of an Eagles of Death Metal concert. This was the longest attack out of the three lasting almost 2 hours and resulted in the death of 90 people and hundreds of injured. 

The ‘November Attacks’ as they are often referred to were the bloodiest terrorist attacks ever perpetrated on French soil, leaving the nation in a profound state of shock and grief. 

So what are the victims and the families expecting to come out of this trial? For six years now, those affected by the attacks have been looking for answers. Even though some of the victims refuse to go to the trial, they are all very apprehensive when it comes to what the defendants will have to say. This is especially the case with Salah Abdeslam, the only survivor of the group of perpetrators. They explained to the press that they are all wondering “Will Salah Abdeslam give explanations?” So far, the accused has remained silent but the victims are expectant to hear explanations over the course of this trial and receive some type of closure.

Roxane de Bergevin
Roxane de Bergevin
Half-French and half-Turkish 5th year BBA-BIR student. Lover of reading, learning about geopolitics, and listening to music.

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