In October 2012, 2nd year officer cadets, aged between 20 and 22, organized the “bahutage“, a highlight of schooling, which should allow traditions to be passed on between classes of”Cyrards“and forge an esprit de corps.
But, over the course of the trial, it appears that neither the battalion commander nor the school training director is aware of a “detailed program“or were not present at the scene of the drowning. And neither of them, the only members of the military hierarchy prosecuted before the Rennes Criminal Court, had a precise account of the activity in 2011.
“There is never a lift of anything“in Saint-Cyr, ironically Me Camille Radot, lawyer of the civil parties.
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For Hervé Wallerand, former lieutenant-colonel and in charge of the 2nd year students at the time of the events, the bahutage was “the garden“of these young people, without any real control, despite the security elements to be respected which appear on a framework document.
According to Mr. Wallerand, who now works in insurance, this state of affairs is due to the desire of the high command to grant a “autonomy“increased for students that appears in a”walking book“from 2007.
More, “in any case, the exercise of transmission of traditions is a commando swim“, however, he defended himself, claiming to have felt”betrayed“by his students, recognizing them a”exorbitant status“and who says they wanted”reform this system“.
According to the president of the court, while the defendants mentioned many other breaches of the rules such as climbing a water tower, it seems that this tragedy “was perhaps written … One day or another“.
– “Warrior spirit” –
Jallal Hami, who had studied for five years at Sciences-Po before joining the prestigious school training the future high-ranking officers of the French armies, had participated in the bahutage: swimming in the middle of the night, in a pond lit at 9 degrees, in rangers and fatigues, to the sound of the Valkyries with students disguised as Germans firing blanks on their arrival on the bank. An activity, in the same place the previous year, and which had already been perceived as “limit“security side according to the story of several participants.
At the helm, General Francis Chanson, in charge of training, admitted that he was not “vigilant enough“on this autonomy,”with control that was not constant“. If he had had knowledge of”signs” or “alerts“the year before he would have it”modified or deleted“.
“The transmission belt of this information is not reassembled“, considers Me William Pineau, his counsel.
President Alain Kerhoas wonders about this latitude given to young people to organize such an exercise, akin to a “commando swim“, for nearly 150 students new to the school.”When we leave autonomy to young people, there is still a risk of overflow?“.
“This is the particularity of Coëtquidan: you train young people who will quickly be chefs“, believes Mr. Chanson, who says he was appointed to Saint-Cyr for”give a new warrior spirit to the time“while the school sometimes looked like”to a campus“.
Several speakers explained that the “transmission of traditions“has been extensively reformed since the death of the cadet, the first to occur at Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan since World War II.
The pleadings of the civil parties should begin Wednesday afternoon, while the trial of the seven soldiers, all prosecuted for manslaughter, is due to end on Friday. The judgment should be reserved.
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