(January 29, 2020 / JNS) Top judiciary officials in France criticized French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday after he urged for the anti-Semitic murderer of Sarah Halimi to be put on trial.
Halimi, an Orthodox Jewish woman in her 60s, died on April 24, 2017, after her neighbor, 29-year-old Kobili Traoré, broke into her apartment, tortured and abused her, and then threw her bruised body out of the window while shouting in Arabic “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”).
The Court of Appeal in Paris ruled this past December that Traoré’s use of cannabis resulted in him having a “delirious fit” and therefore not criminally responsible for his actions.
During a visit last week to Israel for Holocaust commemoration programs, Macron said about the ruling that “even if, in the end, the judge decided that there was no criminal responsibility, there is a need for a trial.”
He seemed to lament that “I cannot speak to you from the heart” on the matter, which drew great attention in France, “because I am the guarantor of the independence of the judiciary, of the cardinal principles of our Criminal Code.”
In a written statement on Monday, judge Chantal Arens of the Cour de Cassation, France’s highest court of appeals, and François Molins, the court’s attorney general, rebuked Macron’s comments, saying that “the independence of the justice system, of which the president of the Republic is the guarantor, is an essential factor in the functioning of democracy.”
The magistrates of the Cour de Cassation, “must be able to examine all the appeals [in the Halimi case] in all serenity and independence,” the two top magistrates said.
The Cour de Cassation will hear an appeal by Halimi’s family against the lower court’s insanity finding, according to The Times of Israel.
The head of France’s main judges’ union, Katia Dubreuil, said she was “shocked” by Macron’s remarks, noting that even though Macron promises not to interfere in court rulings, “that’s exactly what he’s doing!”
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