Saturday, 8 May 2021 - 26 of Iyyar, 5781

Lawyers for Sarah Halimi’s family have decided to go to Israeli courts after France’s Supreme Court ruled out a trial of the murderer

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France’s Supreme Court said Kobili Traore  committed the killing after succumbing to a “delirious fit”, was thus not responsible for his actions and could not be tried, a ruling which was  received with shock in the Jewish community and beyond.

Israel on Tuesday blasted the Supreme Court ruling.“Sarah Halimi was murdered for clearly anti-Semitic motivations, for the sole reason that she was a Jew, ” said Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Lior Hayat .  “This was a despicable murder that harmed not only the victim herself and her family, but also the entire Jewish community’s sense of security.”

 

Lawyers for the family of Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old Jewish woman who was killed in 2017 after being beaten up and pushed out of the window of her Paris flat by neighbor Kobili Traore, who shouted “Allahu Akbar,” have decided to go to Israel’s justice after France’s Supreme Court upheld a rulings by lower tribunals that the man cannot stand trial because he was too high on cannabis to be criminally responsible for his actions.

‘’We have decided to go to Israeli justice and file a complaint against Kobili Traore,’’ Francis Szpiner, one of the lawyers of Sarah Halimi’s family, announced Wednesday during a webinar on the case organized by ECUJE, a Jewish cultural and university center in Paris.

He added however that he doesn’t think that Traore could be tried in Israel because, he said, France’s doesn’t extradite his nationals. However, the Israeli justice could rule on the case.

Szpiner stressed that such a move to go to an Israeli court means a ”failure” of France’s judicial system but, he said, ”we are forced to do so.”

Anoter lawyer, Muriel Ouaknine-Melki, confirmed the Halimi’s famil’s intention to also refer the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

An appeals court had said Traore  had anti-Semitic bias and that the killing was partly connected to it. But it also accepted the defense claims that Traore was too high to be tried for his actions and he was placed at a psychiatric facility.

The Supreme Court said he committed the killing after succumbing to a “delirious fit” and was thus not responsible for his actions, a ruling which was  received with shock in the Jewish community and beyond.

Israel on Tuesday blasted the ruling.“Sarah Halimi was murdered for clearly anti-Semitic motivations, for the sole reason that she was a Jew, ” said Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Lior Hayat .  “This was a despicable murder that harmed not only the victim herself and her family, but also the entire Jewish community’s sense of security.”

“The way to confront anti-Semitism is through education, zero tolerance, and heavy punishment,” Hayat said. “This is not the message that the court’s ruling conveys.”

French President Emanuel Macron has expressed his support for the Jewish community and its efforts to bring Halimi’s killer to trial. In an interview with daily Le Figaro, he said he would seek a change in  the laws to prevent such a case from happening again.

He stressed that taking drugs and “going crazy” should not take away criminal responsibility.

“It’s not for me to comment on a court decision, but I would like to express to the family, to the relatives of the victim, and to all our Jewish citizens who were waiting for a trial, my warm support and the Republic’s determination to protect them,” the president said.

Macron said that France “does not judge citizens who are sick, we treat them… But deciding to take drugs and then ‘going crazy’ should not, in my opinion, take away your criminal responsibility.”

He said that he would ask the Justice Minister to present a change in the law ‘’as soon as possible.”

Several rallies to protest the Supreme Court ruling are scheduled to take place on Sunday in Paris and other French cities, as well abroad.

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