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On Wednesday, a historic trial began for the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks that killed 130 people.
“One survivor who suffered from severe trauma and killed himself in 2017 was officially declared the 131st victim,” The New York Times reported.
As reported by the BBC, “IS admitted carrying out the co-ordinated attacks on the Bataclan concert hall, a major stadium, restaurants and bars on 13 November 2015.” Twenty men accused of taking part in the terrorist acts are being charged. The trial will take place in a chamber that has been custom designed for the events.
As Fox News reported, “Nine gunmen and suicide bombers struck within minutes of each other at the national soccer stadium, the Bataclan concert hall and restaurants and cafes on Nov. 13, 2015. The lone survivor of the extremist cell from that night is among those being tried for the deadliest attack in France since World War II. The same IS network went on to strike Brussels months later, killing another 32 people.”
Only 14 of the people who are charged will appear in court. The main person involved is Salah Abdeslam, who reported left his vehicle and a suicide vest that didn’t work and ran to hide in his hometown of Brussels. “Five of the six men being tried in absentia are presumed dead; the whereabouts of one man is unknown,” per Fox News.
“Asked by the court’s top judge to identify himself, Abdeslam confirmed his name and said ‘there is no god but Allah’ – an Islamic oath known as the Shahada,” the BBC reported on Wednesday.
He was also reportedly asked about his job, to which he responded, “I abandoned all professions to become a fighter for the Islamic State.”
The trial will likely be the largest in the history of France. The plaintiffs reportedly include almost 1,800 victims, which includes survivors and families of people who were killed in the attacks. The trial also involves 330 lawyers who will be acting as representatives for the defendants and the plaintiffs.
The trial required a special courtroom that was “constructed within the storied 13th-century Palais de Justice in Paris, where Marie Antoinette and Emile Zola faced trial, among others. The chamber, which has pale wood and enormous screens, can house 550 people, all the defendants and 10 cameras. Multiple overflow rooms will carry live broadcasts of the proceedings.”
In another first move, victims can also reportedly get a secure link to listen to the trial from their houses if they choose to do so.
“It’s the trial of all superlatives,” said Éric Dupond-Moretti, the French justice minister. “The longest trial in our history,” he added.
The duration of the trial is set to be nine months long with the first month used for discussing the evidence. October will be dedicated to testimonies from the victims. Next year, those who are standing trial will be asked questions, and a verdict is set for late May.
There will also be heavy security at the trial, with events beginning every day at 12:30 p.m. in order to eliminate the need to go through additional searches after people leave for lunch.
“All driving, parking and even pedestrian traffic will be blocked from most of the surrounding streets and along the banks of the Seine River. There will be different entries for different parties to the case, who face searches each time they enter the building and at multiple checkpoints,” Fox News reported.
The world will be watching the unfolding of the historic trial, especially after the recent Islamic State-Khorasan attacks on the Kabul airport that killed 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghans.