“A trauma on the trauma”: at the trial of the attacks of November 13, the difficult identification of the victims

For four days, the parents of Lola Ouzounian, killed in Bataclan on November 13, 2015, searched for their daughter. It was only on November 17 that the service responsible for identifying the victims of the attacks, having updated its list of deceased persons, noticed an oddity: two Justine Moulin were there. One at the forensic institute (IML) in Paris, the other at the Salpêtrière hospital.

“At first, we assumed a disambiguation. Then we assumed that one of the two bodies in the name of Justine Moulin was in fact that of Lola Ouzounian. “ told the specially composed Assize Court, Thursday, September 23, a tall elegant woman who testifies anonymously under the name “SDAT 005”. Responsible for the victims workshop of the anti-terrorism sub-directorate of the judicial police, she was in charge of the management of victims of the attacks of November 13th. She can’t hold back her tears as she continues her story.

“Dental evidence provided by Lola’s parents made it possible to rule out that the body at the IML was hers. In fact, the name of Justine Moulin had been given to Lola Ouzounian at the hospital. “ And for good reason : “There had been a formal recognition of the family. “ The parents of Justine Moulin, killed on rue Bichat, were convinced that the young girl disfigured by a Kalashnikov shot they had in front of them at the Salpêtrière was theirs.

Nine other errors polluted the process of identifying victims of the attacks. SDAT 005 reads: «Claire Tapprest, deceased, listed under the name of Caroline D., alive, because of the Navigo pass found in the jacket which covered her ; Chloé Boissinot, deceased, listed under the name Aurélie Bureau, because of the documents found in a handbag; Nathalie Lauraine, deceased, listed as Chloé W., alive, for unknown reason; The remains of Lamia Mondeguer and Gil Jaimez Michelli, reversed due to the reversal of the two handbags by the emergency services; Valeria Solesin, successively announced deceased and then alive to her relatives. “

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Tragic confusion

These tragic confusions symbolize the difficulty encountered by the structure responsible for putting names on the corpses of November 13th. On Thursday, the hearing stressed that at their level, the victim identification services had worked in the same fog as the intervention and rescue services on the evening of the attacks. Too many deaths, too much stupor, too much chaos.

“We were the subject of a lot of pressure to obtain an immediate death toll, which was obviously impossible., says SDAT 005, pointing out these two contradictory requirements: exercise due diligence and procedural rigor. The extraordinary media coverage generated greater pressure in favor of the first requirement. The difficulties came from bodies identified on the spot, in panic and confusion, by the police. Normally, no name should have been assigned to a body at the time of the findings. “

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