In the Halimi Case, Macron Deplores the Decision


On Islam, President Emmanuel Macron is not coherent. He has spoken with fervor about creating a “French Islam,” but has not explained what that means, other than that imams would receive their religious training in France. He has since gone silent on that plan; after such a buildup; no one yet knows what Macron thinks a “French Islam” would look like, and how it would differ from mainstream Islam as practiced in the Middle East and North Africa. After all, Believers inside France would read the same Qur’an and the same Hadith as Believers  outside. Or does Macron think he can produce bowdlerized “editions” of both suitable for use in France, that Muslims would accept?

The French President has sounded much more sensible in his recent remarks about the trial of Kobili Traore, the man who killed Sara Halimi, a 65-year-old lady murdered for being Jewish. Traore was excused by the prosecutors from a criminal trial because he had been high on cannabis at the time of the murder.

Here are the details of Macron’s clashes on that decision with some senior French judges:

French President Emmanuel Macron was locked in a dispute with senior representatives of his country’s judiciary on Monday, after earlier expressing support for putting the alleged antisemitic murderer of a Jewish woman on trial.

In a speech to French Jews in Jerusalem last Thursday, Macron addressed the widely-condemned Dec. 2019 decision by prosecutors in Paris to excuse the accused killer, 29-year-old Kobili Traore, from a criminal trial.

The prosecutors deemed that Traore’s intake of cannabis on the night that he tortured and murdered Sarah Halimi — his 65-year-old Jewish neighbor — had rendered him delusional and therefore criminally not responsible for his actions.

In his remarks in Israel, Macron appeared to disagree with that ruling.

“Even if, in the end, the judge had to decide that criminal responsibility is not there, the need for a trial is there,” the French president said.

That assertion resulted in a stern reminder for Macron of the independent status of the French system of justice from two of its leading representatives.

In a written statement on Monday, Chantal Arens and François Molins — respectively the first president and the attorney general of the Cassation Court, France’s highest — emphasized that “the independence of the judiciary is an essential condition for the functioning of democracy.”

Continued the statement: “The magistrates of the Court of Cassation must be able to examine with complete peace of mind and in complete independence the appeals before them.”

The Court of Cassation is presently considering whether to overrule the Paris prosecutors by sending Traore for trial. Their deliberations will likely be the final step in a legal process that has dragged on for nearly three years, causing heartache to the Halimi family and rising anger among French Jews.

And not just French Jews – many non-Jews have also been angered by this decision.

In his Jerusalem speech, however, Macron suggested that his personal feelings about the Halimi case sat uneasily with the official requirements of his post.

“I cannot speak to you from the heart, because I am the guarantor of the independence of the judiciary, of the cardinal principles of our Criminal Code,” Macron noted.

The judiciary’s independence is not infringed upon by Macron stating his personal opinion as to the wisdom of the prosecutors’ decision in the Halimi case. Macron retains the right to state his own view on the. wisdom, or unwisdom, of judges’ decisions. He has no means of influencing the judges on the Court of Cassation who may agree, or refuse, to hear the case on appeal. He has no power, as president, to pressure them, any more than an American president can pressure judges on the Supreme Court to vote the way he would wish.

In the wake of Halimi’s murder — which occurred two months before Macron’s election — he said, “I received so many letters, heard so much excitement, saw so much rage and anger at the idea that justice will never be done.”

Macron then noted an appeal had already been lodged by Halimi’s lawyers with the Court of Cassation, observing that “this constitutes a possible way forward under the law.”

Traore — who lived in the same public housing project in eastern Paris as Halimi, a child development expert who lived alone — broke into her apartment during the early morning hours of April 4, 2017.

Terrified neighbors who alerted police after hearing Halimi’s cries for help reported that Traore had shouted Islamist slogans as he rained kicks and punches on his victim, before picking up her bruised body and throwing her out of the window.

Police investigations later revealed that Halimi had told relatives that she was scared of Traore, who insulted her visiting daughter as a “dirty Jewess” a few weeks before the murder.

The country’s chief rabbi, Haim Korsia, was among those who condemned the decision to excuse Traore from trial because of his drug use, calling it a “license to kill Jews” in France.

The decision of the prosecutors in the Halimi case was atrocious. It was based on the argument that since Kobili Traore was under the influence of cannabis when he murdered Halimi, he was, not in his right mind and could not be held criminally responsible for his act. But his own history showed that when he beat and then defenestrated Halimi, his thoughts were very much of a piece with his beliefs when he was not taking cannabis. He had a history of ranting about Jews; when Halimi’s daughter  had visited her just a few weeks before the murder, Traore called her “une sale juive,” a “dirty Jewess.” Traore was in his right mind – that is, his evil, antisemitic, murderous right mind – when he decided to kill Sara Halimi. He was doing as the Qur’an instructs Muslims to do – to fight, to kill, to smite at the necks of, to strike terror in the hearts of, non-Muslims, the “most vile of created beings.” He knew, too, the several dozen antisemitic verses in the Qur’an. While beating Halimi, he repeated Islamic slogans – quotes, no doubt, from some of the more than 100 Jihad verses in the Qur’an.

Why should the taking of cannabis be considered a mitigating factor? That would be true only if Traore had never exhibited a murderous hatred of Jews, but then, while under the influence of cannabis, had attacked and killed Sara Halimi,  toward whom he had never expressed any hatred, could one argue that he was “not in his right mind.” But in the trial it had been well-established that Traore hated Jews, insulted Jews, ranted against Jews. The cannabis was not the cause of his murderous behavior; it may have given him Dutch courage to do what he so obviously wanted to do. His intent was clear, and this hatred of Jews had been clear for months, if not years.

If the judgment of the prosecutors in the Halimi case were to stand, it would set a terrible precedent in French law. If on appeal Traore is excused from any criminal prosecution by the Court of Cassation, how many Muslims will simply get high on drugs before committing whatever crime they have in mind against Infidels? As Chief Rabbi Haim Korsia, who was among those who condemned the decision to excuse Traore from trial because of his drug use, said, the decision was a “license to kill Jews” in France. And not just Jews.

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