It is an initiative that stands out in the hushed world of courthouses. Former anti-terrorism judge Marc Trévidic launched his YouTube channel last November. In his usual style, chiseled and inhabited, the magistrate clarifies the matter he has worked on for fifteen years. Not without adapting to the codes of social networks: in his video entitled "On the independence of the anti-terrorist justice", the current president of the chamber at the Versailles Court of Appeal directly answers the question of an internet user.
If many comments from Internet users are rave, highlighting a black dress on social networks to evoke such a sensitive topic makes some teeth cringe. “A YouTube channel for a magistrate still in office […] isn't that a bit limited in terms of the obligation to reserve? Annoys a lawyer on Twitter. "There are so many charlatans on the subject, that the voice of the professional, who is an excellent specialist, is more than welcome," defends for her part, Senator UDI de l'Orne, Nathalie Goulet, who notably led a commission senatorial inquiry into jihadist networks in France. Near the Parisian, the main interested explains his approach. Interview.
Why did you start a YouTube channel?
MARC TREVIDIC. I'm 54, and I have to admit, YouTube, it's not completely my world (laughs). In fact, it was my son Paul who convinced me to do it. Since terrorism is a "fashionable" subject, I have a lot of requests for conferences, third-party interventions, including in high schools. I broke my health a bit to do that. Paul explained to me that with a YouTube channel, I could make lots of in-depth instructional videos without leaving my desk.
What to talk to you about?
I really want to make videos on justice and terrorism, treated like a law professor would, but being more practical. I'm going to go over the substantive issues, so that people understand the whole system. We still have to talk a little bit about specialized services, understand how they work. It is not a question of revealing secrets about certain operating tools. But to tell everything else, which is not sufficiently known, not sufficiently explained. I am thinking of secret defense, for example. It's about deepening, popularizing.
VIDEO. "On the independence of the anti-terrorist justice"
Aren't you afraid of violating your obligation to reserve, or of revealing certain strings to malicious people?
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I know my status. These volunteer activities - there is no advertising - are some of the things I have the right to do. I will not make a video on current cases, such as the assassination of the monks of Tibhirine or Rwanda. But I will not refrain from mentioning cases already judged, if it is useful on the subject. As for the risk of revealing strings, unfortunately, terrorists do not need me to have imagination in barbarism.
Why are you so keen on popularizing anti-terrorism?
When I started counterterrorism in 2000, as a prosecutor, it was a very secret area. And the people who worked there wanted it to stay that way. But with the recent wave of attacks, this whole jihadist movement has arrived in the public square. Radicalization has become a social problem. Today, it is a problem which goes beyond the intelligence services and which concerns everyone. The old school, which wants to keep secret the operation of anti-terrorism, and especially the dust under the carpet, horrifies me. I left with the idea that I was going to explain the subject. This is why I started to write a book on the subject. It is a global approach.
Do you think that the justice system does not communicate enough on anti-terrorism?
I find that communication is a little confiscated. Who communicates on these subjects today? Who ? The executive and, from time to time, the prosecutor. He does a press conference and tells you a story. The lawyers, too, from time to time. But that's all. I find the magistrates very shy. We don't hear them much. If you have a case that you cannot hear because there is a political will to oppose it, but that you have no media influence, you will have trouble unblocking it. If I had not mobilized the media, I would never have managed to unearth the heads of the Tihibérine monks. I would never have gone to Rwanda to assess the plane [by Juvénal Habyarimana, shot down on April 6, 1994, editor's note]. This is reality. So, some deplore it, prefer that we sit on the file. But when you are given an instruction file, it is so that it advances, to find the truth.
You are still as addicted to counter-terrorism ...
On the matter, you understood it well, yes. On the other hand, as far as the exercise is concerned… I drooled over it so much as an examining magistrate that I find it hard to answer yes, in a firm and massive manner. I do not know if I would still have the energy today to do what I did for ten years, with the files that I dragged, the enmities, the headaches, the forcing to be able to do my work - I am thinking of the Karachi file or the Monks of Tibhirine -, etc. I love the material, but I will not see myself redoing it as an examining magistrate. On the other hand, presiding over the special assize court [competent for terrorist crimes, editor's note] - since I know the matter and the procedure - why not!
In one of your videos - which does not speak of terrorism - you directly confess to having used blackmail in pretrial detention to find the loot that a young man had stolen from an old man. Have you often used this blackmail?
At times, yes. The role of justice is not only to condemn. It is also to repair. A judge must take into account many elements: the social interest, the function of the penalty - which is to punish but also to amend - and the interest of the victim. Pre-trial detention is not meant for that, it's true. But in this case, I used this blackmail wisely. It was a nod to the lawyers who, sometimes rightly, castigate this way of doing things. There, it turns out that the lawyer agreed with me. Typically, pretrial detention is called blackmailing someone in prison until they confess. Now there, he had already confessed. Ultimately, it was for him to fix what he had done. I do not see where the evil is, personally. We must be wary of the main principles. It is concrete, justice. Each case is different.