At the November 13 trial, a chilling and modest dive into the Bataclan attack

The courtroom of the specially composed Assize Court filled up earlier than usual, on this eighth day of the trial of the attacks of November 13, 2015, in Paris.

On a bench, a young man and a young woman get acquainted while waiting for the opening of the debates. They were at the Bataclan that night. They look very young. We dare not imagine how old they were then. He tells his neighbor how he locked himself in a lodge until his release by the police, shortly after midnight. He had offered this concert to celebrate his first CDI. She explains that she had taken refuge in the attic. The two young people also evoke the life after, their profession, tell how they have rebuilt themselves.

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They came to listen, this Friday, September 17, to the findings made by the police at the crime scene after the massacre. Like many civil parties, they are preparing to enter the Bataclan again to relive the two hours and thirty-eight minutes of this horror behind closed doors through the methodical report of the witness of the day.

Patrick Bourbotte is an investigator with the criminal brigade. He coordinated the findings made in the auditorium on November 14 in the early morning, and during the weeks that followed. This 51-year-old investigator knows the difficulty of testifying before an Assize Court, but there, he warns, it is ” extraordinary “. The Bataclan massacre, perpetrated by three French jihadists armed with assault rifles and explosive belts, left 90 dead and 202 physically injured.

“And there, we enter the room”

“I’m going to need a projection to illustrate my point”, begins the witness. A large white screen slowly descends behind the courtyard in cathedral silence. Everyone dreads the images that will soon appear. No dead body photos will be shown. Justice has chosen modesty for this trial. Death will be represented through places, names, icons and the words of the witness. A three-dimensional plan of the Bataclan with its facade resembling a Chinese pagoda appears on the screen. We read : “Pit”, “Balcony”, “scene”, ” main entrance “, “Side exit” and already we imagine or remember.

“And there we go into the room. ” It is November 14, 2015, it is 5 a.m. The wounded were evacuated, the findings can begin. “It’s pretty indescribable, but you have to describe it. The atmosphere is gloomy, cold. White light makes the place look pale. The bodies are entangled on top of each other. We had never seen that… ” The policeman’s throat tightens. “We had never seen that …” He resumed : “We walk in clotted blood, in the midst of pieces of teeth, bones, vibrating phones – families call – backpacks, handbags. And bodies, and bodies and bodies … ”

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