Saturday, 8 May 2021 - 26 of Iyyar, 5781

Shocking: France’s Supreme Court confirms Appeal Court’s decision denying criminal responssibility of Sarah Halimi’s murderer

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Being declared not criminally responsible, Kobili Traoré will not be tried.

Lawyers for Sarah Halimi’s relatives have announced their intention to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

France’s Supreme Court confirmed the decision of the Paris Court of Appeal denying the criminal responsibility of Kobili Traoré, the murderer of Sarah Halimi.

On 4 April 2017, Traoré, a jobless drug dealer and addict, had violently beaten his 64-year-old Jewish neighbour, shouting “Allah Akbar” and reciting verses from the Quran. The 27-year-old then threw her into the courtyard of their apartment building in Belleville, in eastern Paris. The psychiatric experts who worked on the case all agree that he was suffering from a “delusional state” at the time of the murder of the 60-year-old.

The Court last December  considered that the discernment of the murderer had been abolished at the time of the facts.

Lawyers for Sarah Halimi’s relatives have announced their intention to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

“It is a great disappointment, a great sorrow,” Julie Buk Lament, lawyer for Sarah Halimi’s relatives told French radio. Traoré’s lawyer, Patrice Spinosi, described the decision as “a reasonable one, in line with its usual jurisprudence.’’

Being declared not criminally responsible, Traoré will not be tried.

“Kobili Traoré’s case will impact the entire French community because anyone who uses drugs can then have their criminal responsibility dissolved. This is the door to a number of decisions that we will have to deal with in the coming years,” said Muriel Ouaknine Melki, President of the European Jewish Organisation (OJE).

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations,  Shimon Samuels, said he was shocked at the Supreme Court decision. “After a harrowing 3 years of courtroom debate on the criminal responsibility of a murderer, presumedly ‘under the influence’ of cannabis – which basically resulted in him being interned in a psychiatric hospital instead of being judged and condemned to prison – the family has been on edge until now. This is a devastating blow!”

Samuels stressed that, “the Supreme Court’s decision now closes the case definitively… and instead of allowing it to be re-examined by the Appeals Court on the basis of a more solid legal standpoint, it confirms that it is possible to deny justice for a murder aggravated by its antisemitic character.’’

“The memory of Sarah Halimi, Mireille Knoll and other victims of antisemitic hatred, lives on. We will examine every possible further legal instance.”… “Tonight the murderer will be feted as a hero and frighteningly encourage followers to action.’Snort drugs to kill a Jew!’,” concluded Samuels.

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